Background To Business in Sweden

Background To Business in Sweden

Sweden, as has often been stated, presents a fascinating business model. It has proved to be a remarkably successful post-war economy, which has managed to combine both pro-business policies with the provision of an all-embracing welfare state.

Indeed the social policies once produced a famous remark from the mayor of Shanghai, ‘I like Sweden but you are just a bit too socialist over there.’

This seeming paradox can in large measure be explained by an understanding of one of the central Swedish characteristic – egalitarianism. A belief in the genuine equality of individuals and the resultant desire for consensus are at the heart of Swedish business life and explain both organisational structures and management approach in the country.

A second, frequently mentioned, surprise about Swedish business is the relatively large number of truly international companies emanating from a country with a population of less than nine million – Eriksson, Electrolux, Atlas Copco, ABB, Tetrapak; the list is almost endless. It is a truism that countries with small domestic markets need to internationalise to survive and prosper but few countries have been as successful on the world stage as Sweden.

The third remarkable fact about Sweden is the enormous breadth of its industries. Sweden has significant companies in market sectors varying from electrical goods to vehicle manufacture, from telecommunications to pharmaceuticals and from mechanical engineering to chemicals. In addition, of course, it has companies with a global presence in all these industrial areas.


This country-specific business culture profile was written by Keith Warburton who is the founder of the cultural awareness training consultancy Global Business Culture

Global Business culture is a leading training provider in the fields of cross-cultural communication and global virtual team working.  We provide training to global corporations in live classroom-based formats, through webinars and also through our cultural awareness digital learning hub, Global Business Compass.

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.

Country Breakdown





Swedish Krona


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