U.S. vs. Norway Management Styles & Why it Matters in Global Business
Different cultures throughout the world have various management styles that shape their organization, and managers of these organizations are consistently interacting with one another more frequently than ever before. Many businesses oftentimes face great opposition when dealing with each other’s management styles, due to their misunderstanding of their cultural differences.
It’s vital for corporations to understand the various cultural differences that exist in business, especially as globalization continues to increase in today’s marketplace.
It’s vital for corporations to understand the various cultural differences that exist in business, especially as globalization continues to increase in today’s marketplace. Every country is defined by their specific characteristics in heritage, upbringing, religious practices, geography, etc., and their management styles are a reflection of their culture. Unlike the lateral hierarchy, which is highly valued in the United, other countries such as Norway value a more horizontal hierarchy in management, where managers are recognized but the entire organization is valued at the same level.
Ultimately in America, a manager is responsible for the success and failure of an organization; they are the overall face of the company.
Since the beginning, America has always valued and place high importance to the individual in charge. For example, in the painting of George Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze, General Washington is standing upright in an assertive dominant stance charging towards victory, he is regarded as the leader of American independence. Ultimately in America, a manager is responsible for the success and failure of an organization; they are the overall face of the company.
With that said, American managers are more assertive, aggressive, goal and action oriented, confident, vigorous, optimistic and ready for change. They work extremely well in a team, but value individual freedom and furthering their own careers, many times disregarding the opinions of their subordinates.
Norwegians on the other hand, are the exact opposite. Norway is an egalitarian society, where equality is highly valued; everyone is treated the same, regardless of position or title. Unlike the U.S., Norwegians management style is more informal, allowing all employees to equally interact with one another directly, without the need of hierarchical channels. All decisions are made in a group setting with input from all employees, ensuring everyone’s opinion is considered before finalizing a decision.
With that said, Norwegians are unafraid of disagreeing with superiors, which allows for collective participation among all parties. Since all decisions are made collectively, everyone in the organization wins and/or fails together, equally taking responsibility for the overall decision.
Even though Norwegians and Americans have different management styles, there ultimate goal is the same, to gain larger market share and increase profits. However, in a globalized society, managers of organizations must study and train their employees on the many customs and courtesies of different countries.
These training will not only bring awareness to employees of different management styles from each country, but also avoid possible misunderstandings and offensive actions against other cultures, which will lead to a positive long-lasting professional relationship.
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