And We’re Off!

Meet McKenzie!

My name is McKenzie and I am a current MBA student at Chapman University. I have a passion for traveling, people, and brand marketing so I am looking forward to obtaining a better understanding of the differences with cultural and business practices between the U.S. and Scandinavia. I hope to specifically focus on marketing differences from country to country as well as company to company to expand my understanding of international marketing and global business!

Meet Liz!

My name is Liz and I am also a current MBA student at Chapman. Besides Mexico and Canada, I have unfortunately never had the opportunity to travel outside the country. With an adventurous and outgoing personality, however, I have been itching to truly broaden my horizons; and what better way than going to Scandinavia. I plan on soaking in every moment, expanding my knowledge about how businesses are conducted outside the U.S. and discovering how I can apply this newly developed knowledge to enhance my own professional skills.

Our Goal

During our research on Scandinavian business and cultural norms, we found ourselves asking what the major differences are between business in the United States and in Scandinavia. Our goal throughout these blog posts is to take a first hand look at business in both the U.S. and Scandinavia in order to better understand the true differences vs. stereotypes through a completely objective lens. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be getting a first hand look into some amazing companies throughout Scandinavia in hopes of obtaining a better global understanding of business through a side by side comparison of the similarities and differences of business practices.

Major Stereotypical Differences Between North America and Scandinavia

We came across a really interesting article, by Jakob Persson, that peaked our interest. Persson dives into the major differences between typical business practices that we found really interesting. Below you can find an overview of what we believed to be the key differences between the two countries from a business point of view.

Competition as the Way of Life

In the U.S., competition is often viewed as cutthroat but is justified through claims that it encourages entrepreneurship and innovation through a better business environment. However, in Scandinavia competition isn’t everything and is in fact considered a ‘zero-sum game.’ This is a major difference considering competition is probably one of the biggest drivers of the business world in the U.S. so it will be interesting to see how this affects business in Scandinavia.

The Role of Religion

From a Scandinavian perspective, the strong religious ties in the U.S. is very shocking. Conversations involving religion or religious beliefs is considered quite normal here in the U.S. but is considered quite strange in Scandinavia. In fact, Scandinavians have saying ‘believing is done in the church’ that discourages those trying to evangelize or casually speak of religion.

Bigger Equals Better

In Scandinavia, it is common for people to be characterized as discreet and tactful within the workplace; and this characteristic flows over into their designs. Americans, on the other hand, are known to be more bold and have a love for larger sizes. From their cars to their food portions, American businesses focus on bringing consumers the “biggest bang for their buck”.

Go-Get-It Attitude

It’s no secret that Americans are competitive in nature, meaning that they are not afraid to step on a few toes to ultimately reach the end goal in mind. This might be seen as aggressive, but many view it as taking initiative and accomplishing the task at hand at any cost. Scandinavians, however, are the exact opposite. They are more concerned with offending others and tread carefully when completing tasks in order to avoid any potential social problems.

Friendliness and Hospitality

From a Scandinavian point of view, American employees in customer service are seen as more friendly to their customers. When getting served, it is common for Americans to hold conversations and remember the names of those they are helping; but is often alluded to the desire in receiving a higher tip or “gratuity.”

As you can see, there are many benefits and concerns to how businesses are conducted in both countries (read full article here). Throughout the next few weeks we plan on exploiting these differences in real time as we visit the various companies.

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