DOING BUSINESS IN NORWAY
Arguably one of the most scenic countries on earth due to its mountainous landscape, fjords and midnight sun, Norway is an attractive location for business ventures. With a relatively small population of only 5 million people it is surprising that Norway’s purchasing power can challenge even the largest of economies because of its high standard of living and minimal wealth gap. Indeed, Norway is home to one of the highest GDPs per capita globally.
Economically Norway has a sophisticated and stable free market with vast natural resources, efficient business culture and low levels of corruption. For foreign investors the main opportunities for development are seafood, timber and metal products, telecommunications, hydropower equipment and oil and gas. At present it is estimated that Norway has enough oil for the next 50 years and gas for the next 100 years. At present the government is keen to now begin a transition to more sustainable economic activities and is also reducing the long-standing transition of state-ownership. Most Norwegians are fluent in English with many speaking French and German too. For these reasons Norway continually scores in the top 10 in the Ease of Doing Business Index.
Despite the fact that Norway is not a member of the European Union (EU), it is part of the European Economic Area (EEA) and still adheres to the same trading practices as the EU. For countries outside the European Union this can cause certain import and export challenges.
In terms of business culture, Norwegians generally adhere to Scandinavian work values. This means there is a large focus on equality in the workplace, particularly in terms of gender, so expect a lack of hierarchy in business and largely informal communication.
Norway (and Norwegians) like to maintain a sense of independence and separateness. The country’s geographical position probably helps foster this feeling of apartness and the country’s abundance of natural resources has enabled Norway to become relatively self-sufficient as a nation. Thus Norway has avoided full membership of the European Union preferring to arrange its own special relationship with the bloc which allows it to benefit from the benefits of quasi-membership without having to surrender its sovereignty.
Rich in North Sea oil and blessed with renewable energy sources Norway boasts an enviably high standard of living which supports a superb national infrastructure, excellent education and a world-class public health service. Norwegians have every right to be proud of what a country with such a small population has been able to achieve.
All of these factors point towards Norway being an attractive place to do business. However, doing business in Norway is not without its challenges. An understanding of Norwegian attitudes and approaches to business can help you to develop key relationships and build a sustainable business model. Interpersonal relationships in Norway tend to be governed by a code of conduct referred to as Jante Law and it is well worth gaining an insight into the key tenets of this law – it will help explain a lot of the issues you encounter in Norway.
Who is the best person to speak to within a Norwegian organisation? Should you go straight to the top or is it better to find the subject matter expert? What form of communication works best in Norway and what sales approach should you take?
This country profile provides an overview of some of the key aspects of Norwegian business culture in a concise, easy to follow-format. The document includes information on:
- Background to business
- Business Structures
- Management style
- Women in business
- Top tips
The World Business Culture website will help companies intent on doing business in Norway achieve maximum success with all the relevant information on business frameworks and cultural particulars.