Swedish Business Structures

Flat management and egalitarianism sit very comfortably together and this accounts for the fact that Swedish organisations tend to be less layered than in all other European countries.

The flatness of Swedish management structures is also mirrored in the levels of remuneration offered to different levels within a company. A combination of the tax regime and centrally agreed salary agreements have produced a country in which pay differentials are almost unbelievably low (although this is starting to change.)

Structures are designed to be pragmatic and systematic and to allow people to perform their tasks effectively and with as little disruption as possible. This does not, however, mean that structures are extremely inflexible. Indeed matrix management, which works better in Sweden than almost anywhere else, leads to an openness of communication and freedom of information which many more hierarchical societies would find almost anarchic.

One key organisational necessity worthy of note is the absolute need for punctuality. Don’t be late in Sweden if you want to maintain a professional image.

A brief overview of some key concepts to consider when doing business in Sweden

Written and Produced by Keith Warburton

Free Download

Overview

Sweden is an open, diversified and competitive economy which has always looked to international trade as an outlet for its products and services. Over the past few decades Sweden has increasingly focused on the development of high-tech products and services and on the green economy which has helped put a relatively small country right at the vanguard of global development.
In addition, Swedish demographics have been helped by the influx of large number of immigrants from around the world who have added both numbers and skills to the highly educated native Swedish population. All of this adds up to a country which represents a host of opportunities to companies and individuals who have the right products or services – ones which will appeal to a very discerning mark place.

Doing business in Sweden is relatively simple and unencumbered with much of the bureaucracy and red tape often found in other countries. However, Sweden is a high-cost economy and you can lose a lot of money quickly if you don’t get your strategy and planning right from the outset. Part of your planning should be to do some homework on Swedish business culture – like all other countries Sweden has its own unique approach to doing things in a business context and you really need to understand these nuances if you hope to make the right impression.

Sweden is one of the most egalitarian business cultures in the world and people from a more hierarchical culture can often find it difficult to understand how this impacts on business operations. For example, going straight to the top might not be the right approach in a country where power and information are shared openly throughout an organisation and showing less respect to one person than another based on job title will definitely be frowned upon.

This country profile provides an overview of some of the key aspects of Swedish business culture in a concise, easy to follow-format. The document includes information on:

  • Background to business
  • Business Structures
  • Management style
  • Meetings
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Women in business
  • Entertaining
  • Top tips