Cultural differences when doing business between Denmark and the UK 
 

Never Second World Business Culture

 

 

UK

 

 

 

Denmark

Tip 1 British companies tend to develop managers to be 'generalists' rather than 'specialists’

 

Tip 1 The drive for egalitarianism is strong in Danish business circles. This leads Danes to be consensus-oriented

Tip 2 Recent years have seen many people moving job and employer on a reasonably frequent basis

 

Tip 2 In common with other Scandinavians, Danes seek consensus through detailed discussion and the search for a negotiated agreement

Tip 3 British organisations have moved towards a much flatter system of management

 

Tip 3 Denmark has few truly multi-national companies but boasts hundreds of highly respected players in niche-markets

Tip 4 Job descriptions in the UK are often very imprecise leaving a potential vacuum in ownership of task and decision.  

Tip 4 Danish success has been largely built on high levels of design, creativity and technical excellence

Tip 5 Managers like to be seen as part of the team rather than removed from it  

Tip 5 Employees have, traditionally, tended to stay with one company for much of their careers and job-hopping has been somewhat rare

Tip 6 The value of pure academic education is viewed with some suspicion. Respect is earned through experience rather than qualification

 

Tip 6 Structures tend to be much flatter than in many other countries with wage differentials reflecting this

Tip 7 Managers find it difficult to articulate direct instructions and will often couch instructions in very diplomatic language.  

Tip 7 Managers are expected to be 'primus inter pares' (or 'first amongst equals') rather than figures of authority who give direct instructions to subordinates

Tip 8 There are a lot of meetings in the UK and they often fail to produce the desired decision  

Tip 8 Promotion tends to be determined through achievement rather than through relationships or networks

Tip 9 The British do less empirical preparation for meetings than other nationalities - seeing the meeting as a forum for debating potential solutions

  Tip 9 People are expected to be well prepared for meetings and to be able to argue their own point of view convincingly
Tip 10 Meetings are reasonably formally structured, roughly following a predetermined agenda and keeping more or less to time   Tip 10 Pre-meeting lobbying could be viewed as mischievous and underhand

Tip 11 The British like to be part of a companionable team

 

Tip 11 Meetings can be long and are certainly plentiful - due in no large measure to the consensus-seeking process

Tip 12 Members of a team are expected to take a holistic interest in the project, rather than confining themselves to their allocated role only

 

Tip 12 Debate is often very direct and this is seen as a positive style of communication. Overly diplomatic or coded-language will be viewed with suspicion

Tip 13 The British place diplomacy firmly before directness and will try to avoid engendering negative emotions

 

Tip 13 Danes make good team players - so long as they understand and approve of the team 'rules‘

Tip 14 The British can misinterpret direct speech as rudeness, aggression and arrogance

 

Tip 14 Communication across functional lines tends to be very open and leads to an expectation of being kept constantly 'in the loop’

Tip 15 Humour is acceptable and expected in virtually all business situations

 

Tip 15 Levels of foreign language speaking are very high with many people speaking two or three non-native languages

Tip 16 Self-promotion is not appreciated in the UK. It is far better to self-deprecate. It is, of course, acceptable to be positive about your company and products   Tip 16 Humour is an oft-used communication tool in Denmark
Tip 17 Meetings will often begin with a good amount of seemingly meaningless small talk  

Tip 17 Body language can be somewhat limited which makes the interpretation of responses difficult for people from more expressive cultures

Tip 18 Women play an increasingly prominent role in business life - especially in service industries   Tip 18 A high percentage of women work in Denmark and many reach the highest levels of organisations
     
Tip 19 Formal dress codes are still predominant although changes are starting to occur in this area   Tip 19 Danes tend to work contractual hours and make a strong separation between work and private life
     
Tip 20 Colleagues will virtually always use first names amongst themselves. It is considered very formal and distancing to use surnames.   Tip 20 Dress codes tend to be reasonably informal in Denmark although this can vary across industrial sectors.

 

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