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Copyright
VOLUME 2 (2000), ISSUE 3 (SUMMER)

 

CULTURAL DIFFERENCES AMONG NORDIC MANAGERS

JOHANNA LUDVIGSEN

 

SUMMARY

Although to outsiders the Nordic countries may appear culturally homogeneous because of high level of collective welfare and social harmony, this article exposes several differences in adherence to collectivistic cultural values that stratified a panel of 33 managers and executives from Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland. Using a longitudinal multivariate case study method this research identified four differences in managerial role enactment that diversified the informants at cross-national level. These included: 1) The unwillingness to use organizational power to attain the goals sought, 2) the predilection for participative style of decision-making, 3) the subjugation of leadership’s authority to group consensus, and 4) the empowerment of organizational agents at lower organizational levels. The results show that the Swedish and Norwegian informants were the most devoted adherents of organizational egalitarianism who scored high on the above four indicators of collectivistic values. On the other hand, the Finnish and Danish participants revealed predilection for more individualistic culture by emphasizing the leadership’s autonomy for power wielding and making of important decisions in order to steer the organizations in desired direction. These findings may help international collaborators to manage the within-culture social differences and reduce the conflict potentials between the followers of collectivistic and individualistic managerial ideologies.

KEYWORDS

Management - Scandinavia - Norway - Denmark - Sweden - Finland - Collectivism

AUTHOR'S PRESENTATION

Johanna LUDVIGSEN is a Senior Research Officer at The Institute of Transport Economics in Oslo, Norway.

COPYRIGHT

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