Comparing Danish working culture vs Swedish working culture results in a lot of similarities, but a few significant differences. Both countries shy away from hierarchy and rarely use job titles. Both place a strong emphasis on job satisfaction and work-life balance. And both offer extensive benefits to workers, including generous time off to care for children. But Swedes are more consensus-oriented than the Danes, while Danes are more spontaneous and rely more on humor in the workplace.
Danish workplace culture reflects the flat hierarchy and egalitarianism Danes value so highly. In practice, this can mean skipping over several layers of management to speak directly to the big boss. This is often not well-received by their counterparts in other business cultures.
Six quick tips for doing business in Denmark:
– Act humble.
– Opt for transparency.
– Respect Danes’ time.
– Don’t be dramatic.
– Avoid business gifts.
– Consider hiring a cultural trainer.
Selling in Denmark isn’t about exaggeration or appeals to the emotional side of buying. Danish customers want deep product knowledge and a readiness to explain specific benefits, delivered in a calm, steady tone. Trustworthiness is the most important factor when selling in Denmark, as well as a comprehensive understanding of what the product can offer and how it performs against its competitors in the Danish market. In general, the Danes believe that a good product sells itself.
If you ask the Danes what they like about their business culture, they’re sure to mention the flat hierarchy. What they mean is that a management pyramid that might have ten or more layers in a hierarchical country like Japan has only two or three layers in Denmark. The flat hierarchy is a virtue born of necessity: salaries are high in Denmark, so middle managers are expensive. And because Danes aren’t supervised or monitored as much as Americans, middle management isn’t as necessary.
Thinking about moving to the USA from Denmark? Kay Xander Mellish, a US-Danish dual citizen and a culture coach based in Copenhagen, Denmark, has a few fun tips.