Intercultural Management - Norway
Being a Manager in Norway
Effective cross cultural management will bear in mind that the Norwegians avoid "hard sell" techniques and communicate directly without using hyperbole or superlatives. Do not expect a great deal of getting-to-know-you conversation since Norwegians prefer to get to the business at hand as swiftly and efficiently as possible.
There are few large companies in Norway. The government owns wholly or partially many major companies. The government encourages an open economy and welcomes private industry as well as foreign investment.
In Norway there is a sense that all people in the organization have an important role to play and all are valued for their input. Therefore in this culture, managers will consult employees to gather background information ort have them share in the decision-making process. Employees expect to be consulted on decisions that affect.
The Role of a ManagerCross cultural management needs to recognize that Norwegians value the specialized knowledge that employees at all levels bring. In Norway, 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 ChangeNorway’s intercultural adaptability and readiness for change is minimal. This means that change is difficult to bring about and is not received with any enthusiasm. Projects will need to be carefully analyzed every step of the way to assure that all the risks have been assessed and understood.
Failure in Norway causes a long-term loss of confidence by the individual as well as by others. 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 PrioritiesNorway is a controlled-time culture, and adherence to schedules is important and expected. In Norway missing a deadline is a sign of poor management and inefficiency, and will shake people’s confidence.
Effective cross-culture management skill will depend on the individual’s ability to meet deadlines.
Decision MakingManagers 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.
Managers make decisions after they have reached a consensus with their work team or others who will be affected by the decision. Their egalitarian culture supports a participative management style.
Cross cultural management needs to understand the Norwegians fundamental belief in an egalitarian society. This means they support a participative management style.
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 StylesCross cultural communication should be relatively straight forward when dealing with the Norwegians. Communication is direct and straightforward. While decision making power rests with upper level managers, lower level managers often have enough perspective of the broad corporate strategy to be able to make informed decisions.
Norwegian companies put a premium on quality and are willing to pay for it. They will not hesitate to switch suppliers if they find a better deal elsewhere. If someone says the cost is too high, they are most likely speaking truthfully, not employing a negotiating tactic.
Expect decisions to take time as your colleagues must weigh all the alternatives. Present a firm, realistic, and competitive initial price and expect a minimum of bargaining. Price is often the most important deciding factor. Norwegians do not generally give discounts, even to good customers or for large orders.
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