Expect Directness – Swedes are known for their open but direct style of communication. They are literal and to the point while often voicing what might be perceived as strong and confrontational opinions.
Consensus and Compromise – Swedish culture places a high importance on notions of egalitarianism. Consensus and compromise permeate almost every aspect of Swedish society. Decision-making in business can therefore be a slow process since everyone has a right to contribute and decisions will tend to be made only once everyone is in agreement.
Reserve – The national character of Swedes is often described as shy, quiet and reserved. As a result, Swedes are often mistaken for being cold and unfriendly but once you get to know them they are very warm and hospitable. They prefer to keep a large degree of separation between their personal and public life which could make them seem uninterested and distant when, in fact, they simply value modest and reserved behaviour.
Love of Nature – Surrounded by expansive forests, archipelagos and over 100,000 lakes, it comes as no surprise that the small population of Sweden has a high respect for natural spaces. This love of nature is reflected in Swedish society such as in their environmental awareness and unique architecture. It is also evident at work where Swedes ensure that they take time off to escape from the high-paced business life to a more serene and peaceful existence in the country.
Tomorrow we take a closer look at business practices in Sweden…