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

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This country profile has been produced to give a short overview of some of the key concepts to bear in mind when doing business with contacts in Sweden. It is intended to be an aid to business people who have commercial dealings with counterparties in the country but should not be seen as an exhaustive guide to this topic or as a substitute for more substantial research should there be a need.

With this in mind, we have covered the areas which are key to a better understanding of the cultural mindset underpinning business dealings in Sweden and which are, quite often, extremely different from the approach and thought processes associated with business in other parts of the world.

Therefore this briefing note is broken into short, bite-sized sections on the following topics:

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