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What are businesses in northern Europe like?

Every nation has its own brand of enterprise, because its history and other social and cultural aspects leave their mark on how business is organised, how profits are viewed, and on the forms of enterprise that give rise to businesses and help them to thrive. All of this goes beyond the general principles of business organisation and of production, so understanding where an enterprise is from can help to better understand its nature and its evolution, even in these more economically advanced areas that are examples of manufacturing efficiency and social responsibility.

A useful read in this regard is a paper entitled “Comparing National and Business Culture in the Nordic Countries – A Finnish Perspective” (i.e. Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland). Recently published in Arcada Working Papers (no. 2/2014) by the Arcada University of Applied Sciences in Finland, this brief, clear article helps to understand the approach to production and enterprise that is common to this area. Written by Jakobssoni, Daria Loktevaii, Angel Lawsoniii, Ville Strömbergiv, Carl-Johan Rosenbröijer (Arcada University of Applied Sciences, Finland, Department of Business Management and Analytics), the paper describes the methodology followed before outlining the key aspects of the culture of enterprise in each country. Each culture is analysed based on certain characteristics: the relationship with institutions; a comparison of individualism and socialisation in business; relationships between the sexes in the workplace; the approach to risk and uncertainty; the degree of pragmatism; and the degree of rigidity in following the rules. All of this is then summarised in a easy-to-read table comparing the various countries.

The conclusion reached is that, despite many similarities, culture of enterprise in Nordic countries features a number of important differences that may not be apparent when looking from the outside at the area as a whole. In short, this paper leads us to an understanding of details that would otherwise remain hidden from view.

Comparing National and Business Culture in the Nordic Countries – A Finnish Perspective

Charlotta Jakobssoni, Daria Loktevaii, Angel Lawsoniii, Ville Strömbergiv, Carl-Johan Rosenbröijer (Arcada University of Applied Sciences, Finland, Department of Business Management and Analytics)

Arcada Working Papers 2/2014, pp 8-20