Different ways of making decisions in India and Norway

Hi Everyone

For the last 10 days I have been back in Europe. Most of the time I spent in Norway, and I also managed a quick trip to London. Being in Europe at this time of the year is quite nice. All green, not too cold, and quite nice temperatures everywhere.

One interesting thing by working in Norway is to observe the difference in management style. In India the hierarchy is always (at least as far as I have seen) very clear. The managers take all decisions and the people below them execute the work. It is never any doubt regarding who is taking the ultimate decision. In Norway it is quite different. Very often it is a team of people who make the decision together. Things are being discussed in more details, and it can sometimes be difficult to understand who the person who really takes the final decision is. Norwegians are quite found of having a lot of meetings where things are being discussed. Everyone should have a chance to raise their concerns. This often makes the time to get a decision quite longer in Norway then what is the case in India.

In the west it is quite common to say that nothing happen in India unless there is a clear specification about what to do. When it comes to execution of the work, which might be the case. But when it comes to taking decisions it is not really like that. I have heard stories from the Indian pure-players (local IT companies) that if someone has had a good idea, the manager has used maybe just a few hours, or even just minutes, to look into it. The person who had the idea will then get maybe like 30 days to get the plan implemented!

So what is the best way to do management? Probably there is no specific answer to this. Each country and culture has different ways to operate, and management must be according to the actual culture. What is clear is that Indian colleagues who have worked both in North America and in Europe say that there is a tougher demand in North America, as they have a bit of the same management style as in India. Everything should happen very quickly, and decisions are taken quickly. Off course, it is important to be able to make quick decisions in a marked that changes quicker than ever. But doing it too quick also off course means a risk for taking wrong decisions. I guess in a fast growing economy like India, taking decisions quickly is very essential. If the decision is wrong, well, you better have to change it and make another decision later then.

Talk to you soon!


One thought on “Different ways of making decisions in India and Norway

  1. Dear Karsten,
    I do find your writings interesting because I have lived and worked in several countries. I may have been a little sharp on the edges in my comments but I really enjoy reading yourr thoughts. Apologies for my blunt conjenctures.
    Ah! Indian management…you know we have something called the Arbeidsmiljøloven (Work Environment Law) that calls for medvirkning (particpation and influecing deceisons) at the workplace in Norway. We also a law mandated arbeidervern system (worker protection systesm) like vernombud and AMU (Safety Committees). These mechanisms at a Norwegian workplace make it difficult to just trample co-workers or employees in the decesion making process.
    Labour laws do exist both in India and the USA. In India as everything else they are not implemented…USA they have great laws but its a social darwinistic state so …management styles are influence by laws and culture.

    In our egalitarian society with the jante loven still at its base even to say my suggestion is the best dont think over it – is heresy. In my experience a lot has to be said, much has to be heard before any possible deceison is taken in Norway. This is not just IT but thats a socio-cultural trait in our society. I think it is actually a good thing as long as we dont aspire to be Americanized.


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