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.
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This World Business Culture profile is designed as an introduction to business culture in Sweden only and a more detailed understanding needs a more in-depth exploration which we can provide through our training and consultancy services.