If we explore the Norwegian culture through the lens of the 6-D Model©, we can get a good overview of the deep drivers of Norwegian culture relative to other world cultures.
This dimension deals with the fact that all individuals in societies are not equal – it expresses the attitude of the culture towards these inequalities amongst us. Power Distance is defined as the extent to which the less powerful members of institutions and organisations within a country expect and accept that power is distributed unequally.
Norway scores low on this dimension (31) which means that the following characterises the Norwegians style: Being independent, hierarchy for convenience only, equal rights, superiors accessible, coaching leader, management facilitates and empowers. Power is decentralized and managers count on the experience of their team members. Employees expect to be consulted. Control is disliked and attitude towards managers are informal and on first name basis. Communication is direct, participative and consensus orientated.
The fundamental issue addressed by this dimension is the degree of interdependence a society maintains among its members. It has to do with whether people´s self-image is defined in terms of “I” or “We”. In Individualist societies people are supposed to look after themselves and their direct family only. In Collectivist societies people belong to ‘in groups’ that take care of them in exchange for loyalty.
Norway with a score of 69 is considered an Individualist society. This means that the “Self” is important and individual, personal opinions are valued and expressed. Communication is explicit. At the same time the right to privacy is important and respected. There are clear lines between work and private life. Job mobility is higher and one thinks in terms of individual careers. The employer-employee relationship is based on a contract and leaders focus on management of individuals. Feedback is direct and nepotism is not encouraged.
A high score (Masculine) on this dimension indicates that the society will be driven by competition, achievement and success, with success being defined by the winner / best in field – a value system that starts in school and continues throughout organisational life.
A low score (Feminine) on the dimension means that the dominant values in society are caring for others and quality of life. A Feminine society is one where quality of life is the sign of success and standing out from the crowd is not admirable. The fundamental issue here is what motivates people, wanting to be the best (Masculine) or liking what you do (Feminine).
Norway scores 8 and is thus the second most Feminine society (after the Swedes). This means that the softer aspects of culture are valued and encouraged such as leveling with others, consensus, “independent” cooperation and sympathy for the underdog. Taking care of the environment is important. Trying to be better than others is neither socially nor materially rewarded. Societal solidarity in life is important; work to live and DO your best. Incentives such as free time and flexibility are favoured. Interaction through dialog and “growing insight” is valued and self development along these terms encouraged. Focus is on well-being, status is not shown. An effective manager is a supportive one, and decision making is achieved through involvement.
The dimension Uncertainty Avoidance has to do with the way that a society deals with the fact that the future can never be known: should we try to control the future or just let it happen? This ambiguity brings with it anxiety and different cultures have learnt to deal with this anxiety in different ways. The extent to which the members of a culture feel threatened by ambiguous or unknown situations and have created beliefs and institutions that try to avoid these is reflected in the score on Uncertainty Avoidance.
Norway scores 50 and thus does not indicate a preference on this dimension.
Long Term Orientation
This dimension describes how every society has to maintain some links with its own past while dealing with the challenges of the present and future, and societies prioritise these two existential goals differently. Normative societies. which score low on this dimension, for example, prefer to maintain time-honoured traditions and norms while viewing societal change with suspicion. Those with a culture which scores high, on the other hand, take a more pragmatic approach: they encourage thrift and efforts in modern education as a way to prepare for the future.
With a relatively low score of 35, Norwegian culture is more normative than pragmatic. People in such societies have a strong concern with establishing the absolute Truth; they are normative in their thinking. They exhibit great respect for traditions, a relatively small propensity to save for the future, and a focus on achieving quick results.
One challenge that confronts humanity, now and in the past, is the degree to which small children are socialized. Without socialization we do not become “human”. This dimension is defined as the extent to which people try to control their desires and impulses, based on the way they were raised. Relatively weak control is called “Indulgence” and relatively strong control is called “Restraint”. Cultures can, therefore, be described as Indulgent or Restrained.
Norway has an intermediate, therefore inconclusive, score of 55 in this dimension.