Business in Scandinavia 2014 is getting ready

Business in Scandinavia MBA Group 2014, Chapman University

Business in Scandinavia MBA Group 2014

15 hours of on-campus classes this week, very exciting 🙂 At least, the group is fast becoming quite literate in Scandinavian/Swedish business culture and traditions with an emphasis on concepts such as:

  • Lagom. The Swedish word for not too much, not too little, just about right, or everything in moderation.
  • Get to the point. Swedes don't like small talk as much as many other cultures, Americans included.
  • Flat organizations. Swedes are not accustomed to many hierarchical levels and the “low-level” employees usually feel quite comfortable speaking their mind even in the presence of the CEO whom they also often refer to by their first names.
  • Jante. The Jante Law (“Jantelagen”) is based on a fictional tale by a Norwegian author Aksel Sandemose about a village where noone was supposed to stand out and be presumptious in any way. Even if I hear reports that the Jante mentality is not as pervasive as it used to be, still Swedes are rather unlikely to brag about themselves and are likely to belittle their accomplishments even when they receive compliments whereas an American would simply smile and say “thank you.”
  • Internationalization. The fact that Sweden is a small home market is both a curse and a blessing. A curse in the sense that Swedish organizations quickly run out of customers if they were to stay domestic. A blessing in that Swedish companies pressured to go international at an early stage, have developed a wealth of experience and knowledge about what it takes to establish a multinational or even global organization. Students were impressed when I shared the fact that one of the companies that we are visiting in Scandinavia, Ericsson, went to China in the 1880s.