Course description

Doing Business in Norway


This course takes the student into internationally competitive Norwegian exports businesses by a combination of physical visits and tailor-made literature, aiming to combine macro and micro level perspectives in order to shed light on how Norwegian business contribute to the creation of one of the world’s richest nations.

The course is aimed at students who want to understand the social organization of Norwegian business in a comparative perspective. What is unique about Norway? And where does Norway mirror other countries? The course will contribute to students’ ability to operate in a Norwegian business context, but also more generally get a holistic understanding of the social, including legal, underpinnings of business practice and thereby new perspectives on the social limitations and possibilities of running businesses.

The business-cases are deliberately chosen from typical exporting companies on the Western coast of Norway to give insights into important dimensions of the Norwegian economy, from the pragmatic and cunning utilization of natural resources of very different kinds, via the role of empowered employees in local communities, and clever and customer-fitted technology, to state-level policies supporting a flexible and internationalized economy. The visits are supported by lectures that give context and that compare Norway to other countries through a theoretical approach to how various nations organise their economies. While other countries richly endowed with natural resources more often than not have found this advantage to be a curse, Norway is – and has been – able to use such a situation to its advantage.

This course aims to show how practice at the factory floor combines with national-level policies and regulations to contribute create a wealthy nation. 

Course content

This course revolves around an intense trip to Western Norway with company visits as an important part. 

1. Oslo (BI)

An open and collaborative economy (3 hours)

  • Norwegian business – an overview
  • An overview of the course
  • How to write your term paper: the case and the bigger picture

​Doing business in Norway: the institutional dimension (5 hours)

  • the institutional structure of the Norwegian economy
  • “the Norwegian model”
  • Participation at the board level: women and employees
  • business law (in a comparative perspective)

2. Western Norway, Bergen (BI)

Important industries of Norway (6)

  • Shipping
  • Electrometallurgy
  • Oil and gas
  • Fish farming

Suggested company visits (18)

  • Mongstad (oil – and energy trade)
  • Elkem, Svelgen (knowledgeable workers, national competence)
  • Coast (Fish farming)
  • A shipping company in Bergen

3. Oslo (BI)

Bringing it together (4)

Learning outcome knowledge

Students should be able to distinguish Norwegian business practices and business context from those of other nations. They should also have a basic understanding of the “Varieties of capitalism”-approach, and thereby a theoretical understanding of how Norway compare and differ from other nations in the institutional set-up of its economy: An open, participatory economy that aims at fairly egalitarian ideals between people both in the workplace but also in terms of geographical location. It is an economy that is strongly influenced by government politics and parliamentary power. Through the course the students also learn something about a nation’s individual and successful adaptation to the competitive international economy, an experience that is not written up as a prescription in textbooks in business schools.

Exam organisation

  • Written assignment: 100%