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  • Cultural factors behind the different business cultures of Iceland and Norway, a comparison
  • Bakkalár
  • Even though Iceland and Norway are both Nordic countries originating from the same culture, the countries’ business cultures have developed different characteristics over the years. In light of the increasing emigration from Iceland to Norway following the financial crisis in 2008, this study will establish the difference between Norwegian and Icelandic business cultures so that Icelanders can prepare themselves for the different national culture and business culture in Norway. Moreover the thesis is informational for Norwegian managers in knowing what to expect when employing or doing business with Icelanders.
    The thesis contains two research questions; firstly: What is the difference between the business cultures of Norway and Iceland today? and secondly: What likely factors could have influenced Norway and Iceland to develop different business cultures?
    Historical and cultural information of both Iceland and Norway was described in detail as these are important aspects to understanding the business culture of the two countries. To categorise the cultures, a clearer picture was established with the help of Hofstede’s cultural dimensions.
    The most important factors separating the Icelandic and Norwegian business cultures is that Iceland’s business culture features optimism, encouragement, informality, quick decisions, an entrepreneurial spirit, young managers, quick reactions and a high level of initiative. What characterises the Norwegian business culture on the other hand is thorough planning, analysis before making decisions, middle-aged managers, reliability, formality and equality.
    Further to these findings, it was decided that the most likely cultural factor responsible for the difference in business cultures was the Scandinavian cultural phenomenon “The Law of Jante”, which is strong in Norway.
    The thesis concludes with practical recommendations for Icelanders and Norwegians on how best to prepare for the managerial differences of Iceland and Norway when doing business with the other country.

  • 10.5.2010

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