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Intercultural Management - Denmark

Being a Manager in Denmark
Management Guide Denmark

Effective cross cultural management will bear in mind that the Danes like to treat all people with equal respect and deference. Avoid "hard sell" techniques and use direct communication without hyperbole or superlatives. Focus on arriving for meetings punctually and making the most productive use of the available time. Danes like to get down to the business at hand as swiftly and efficiently as possible. They generally say what they think and expect others to do the same.

The Role of a Manager

Cross cultural management needs to recognize that Danes value the specialized knowledge that employees at all levels bring. In Denmark, as in most egalitarian cultures, positions of authority are earned largely on the basis of individual achievement and people at all levels of the organization, while respecting authority, are free to aspire to those positions.

The role of the leader is to harness the talent of the group assembled, and develop any resulting synergies. The leader will be deferred to as the final authority in any decisions that are made, but they do not dominate the discussion or generation of ideas. Praise should be given to the entire group as well as to individuals.

Approach to Change

Denmark’s intercultural adaptability and readiness for change is developing all the time. Denmark is seen to have a medium tolerance for change and risk. It is important for innovations to have a track record or history noting the benefits if they are to be accepted and implemented.

The fear of exposure, and the potential of embarrassment that may accompany failure, brings about aversion to risk. Because of this attitude, intercultural sensitivity is going to be required, especially when conducting group meetings and discussing contributions made my participating individuals.

Approach to Time and Priorities

Denmark is a controlled-time culture, and adherence to schedules is important and expected. In Denmark missing a deadline is a sign of poor management and inefficiency, and will shake people’s confidence. People in controlled-time cultures tend to have their time highly scheduled, and it’s generally a good idea to provide and adhere to performance milestones.

Effective cross-culture management skill will depend on the individual’s ability to meet deadlines.

Decision Making

Companies are relatively flat with few hierarchical layers. Managers do not flaunt their positions and prefer to be seen as members of the team. Although not as group focused as some other cultures, employees often subjugate their desires for the good of the group.

Managers generally act as coordinators or team leaders rather than autocratic micro-managers. They are task-oriented and emphasize achieving a goal, productivity and profits. They expect their employees to do their job in a professional manner. Danes are often quite comfortable working in teams and do not expect to be singled out for their contribution.

Cross cultural management needs to understand the Danes fundamental belief in an egalitarian society. This means they support a participative management style.

Most employees are members of a union. The pay scales for the same job are relatively equal across companies, so employees seldom move companies in an attempt to secure more pay or perquisites.

Boss or Team Player?

The role of the leader is to harness the talent of the group assembled, and develop any resulting synergies. The leader will be deferred to as the final authority in any decisions that are made, but they do not dominate the discussion or generation of ideas. Praise should be given to the entire group as well as to individuals.

Communication and Negotiation Styles

Cross cultural communication should be relatively straight forward when dealing with the Danes. They like to get down to business quickly and are direct and frank communicators. They are detail-oriented and negotiations are normally carried out in a reserved and polite manner. Decisions are normally made after consulting with everyone involved.

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