Management styles in Denmark

Written by Josafath, Jeroen Filius January 2014. Posted in Leadership, Int. Skills

Management styles in Denmark

The Danish business environment is informal and hierarchy is not of great importance in the decision making process. Decisions are made through a decentralised process where the gap between managers and subordinates is reduced to allow for free communication with each other (Lewis, 2006). Decision making emphasises consensus building and makes it easy to obtain necessary information as long as a reasonable argument is given.
The Danish culture is a classic example of a low power distance society, according to Dutch social psychologist Geert Hofstede (2005). Subsequently, in low power distance culture, managers show concern for employees well-being and interact directly with them.
Danish business structures tend to be decentralized in which executives fulfil the role of team leaders encouraging employees to take up an active role. This management behaviour has its origin from the term Jantelov described in the book A refugee crosses his tracks published by Aksel Sandemose. As a matter of fact, Jantelov and the egalitarian approach calls for similar treatment of individuals no matter what their background.

Employee motivation
The ability to lead and encourage employees is the base for managerial success. First of all, the best way to motivate employees is to ensure that they are highly involved and appreciated by involving them, for example, in business meetings. Another way to keep the Danish (for that matter most employees over the world) motivated is by giving them a reward for their hard work. These rewards varies from company cars, home computers, cell phones and journal subscriptions and even by offering them stock options and training and development programmes. These rewards are earned since Danes are hard working. Nevertheless once Danish employees leave the workplace, their work is done. As matter of fact, this attitude typically occurs in cultures defined as “specific” explained by Trompenaars. These cultures have a strict separation between their work life and their private life (Trompenaars, 1997). Thus, those in a leadership position in Denmark (or a Danish company) would be smart to not, for example, call their employees on the weekend with pressing work related problems.