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"Sisu" versus "hygge": Comparing Finnish and Danish business styles
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, School of Business.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, School of Business.
2006 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The clear majority of culture-related studies in the field of business are about cultures that commonly are known to be distant from one another, that have totally different values and ways of working. However, recent failures of Nordic mergers strongly indicate that there is lack of knowledge concerning the influence of cultures in intra-Nordic collaboration. This thesis aims to find out what kind of difficulties and cultural challenges Finnish companies with operations in Denmark face. Furthermore, the purpose is to identify differences between Finnish and Danish business and management styles and to investigate the cultural factors behind these differences. The two countries were chosen because there exist but a small amount of previous studies on the cultural differences between them; substantially more comparative cultural studies have been conducted between Finland and Sweden, for example. The Finnish business style has also been said to be the most formal in Scandinavia, whereas the Danish business style is regarded as the most informal in Europe. Traditional dimensional studies of cultures, such as Geert Hofstede`s IBM study, are criticized by many researchers for not indicating significant differences between Nordic countries. Instead, they classify all Scandinavian countries within the same group. We have also discovered that the dimensional approach to cultures does not offer sufficient tools for analyzing the empirical data of our study. In the analysis of the empirical data, we have mainly used Tony Fang’s paradoxal approach to cultures, which we found to better suit our purpose. The empirical findings show that Finns and Danes have quite different approaches towards business. These differences reflect the Finnish and Danish national concepts of “sisu” and “hygge”, presenting almost opposite values. Finns are seen to be straightforward, blunt and determinant by Danes, whereas Finns perceive Danes to be cooperative, competitive and maybe slightly careless. A highly competitive market environment as well as the importance of participation seems to be the biggest challenges for Finnish companies operating in Denmark. From the empirical findings we drew the conclusion that the most striking differences between Finnish and Danish business styles can be summarized by the formalization–participation axis.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-6192OAI: diva2:196166
Available from: 2007-01-05 Created: 2007-01-05Bibliographically approved

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