To get happy and effective employees, you need to show trust, apply just the right amount of pressure, shower them with motivation, and make them feel valued. But what else? What do Scandinavians do besides this that obviously works?

Norway is the most productive country in Northern Europe, and ranks second in the world. Norwegian workers contribute to almost 50 % more of gross domestic product, per worker, per hour than workers in the UK.

How is it that this small country, with one of the shortest working weeks, can show such big muscles when it comes to efficiency? By studying in Norway you will learn the secrets of the Scandinavian Leadership Model.


A part of THE SCANDINAVIAN LEADERSHIP MODELAt first you might find Scandinavians both arrogant and cold. It can be difficult to see how the same people can be among the happiest and most productive employees in the world. But don’t judge a book by its cover. Norwegian leadership is characterised by a flat organisational structure, employees who enjoy a high degree of influence, and a healthy balance between work life and private life.


While typical Anglo-American leadership is often based on authority, Scandinavian leaders are known for encouraging dialogue across the organisation, and involving employees in decisions. Leaders work closely with their employees and commonly there is a short distance between the leadership and the workers. This spurs motivation and ownership. To regard all employees as equally valuable is one of the key factors of the Scandianavian leadership model’s success.

Leading in productivity


Respect is something you earn, right? Scandinavian leaders don’t get respect from their employees just by being the boss. Instead, by including, sharing and communicating, they will be on the right path. Leaders must be prepared to be told if their employees disagree with them. The Scandinavian leadership model actually encourages different opinions and relies on people expressing them. By doing so, trust, loyality and relationships are built.


Another great strength of Scandinavian leadership is the custom of sharing knowledge and important information with each other. In Norway, it’s not unusual for CEOs to practice full financial transparency. This creates an environment that is based on mutual trust and a sense of shared responsibilities and common goals.


The Scandinavian Leadership Model also emphasises the importance of delegating work. Instead of micro-managing projects, which can be both stressful and time consuming, employees are trusted to execute tasks in alignment with a common goal. The model is based on teamwork and the notion that every employee has a voice, responsibilities and influence.


A little boy hugging his dadNorway has been ranked as one of the best countries to live in (many times). One of the reasons might be that Norwegians are nailing work-life balance. Employers recognise the importance of having a life outside the office, and a collective understanding that family and health come first. Employees are encouraged to take their annual five weeks off, so they are rested and ready to be at their best at work.


The Scandinavian Leadership Model also influences Norway’s education system and how BI students interact inside and outside the classroom. For example, communication between professors and students is quite informal, honest and direct. Students are encouraged to listen, trust each other and cooperate. Professors are approachable and eager to help. Students at BI are often included in decisions that affect them and there are a lot of activities that they can involve themselves in, both professionally and socially. Top companies often drop by the school to get in touch with students and the employees of tomorrow.

Stand out. Go North.

Deciding where to study is a big decision.

Moving to a new country to study is even bigger. There are many good reasons to choose Norway and BI Norwegian Business School, and you can find some of them below.


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