Different management styles in India and Norway

Hi Everyone

After some months in India now where I have reported to Indian managers it is quite interesting to see how different things management is executed in the two countries. I was in Norway for some time a few weeks back, and there I observed the Norwegian style of management. It was quite interesting to observe that after having been away for a number of months.

In India, it is always the manager who takes the decision. The manager’s words are like the law. If he, and it is most often a he, has said something, it has to be executed like that. I do feel that in some way this is quite nice and simple. You always know how to proceed. Just proceed like your manager have told you, and you will be fine. Also, there is no doubt about what is decided. I heard about situations in big Indian IT-companies where a subordinate have had a good idea. When he has told about this to his manager, the manager might give him like 10 or 30 days to execute the idea! And he might even get some people to help him in doing so. In west, I think that there are “rumors” that nothing happen in India and that everything take such a long time. When it comes to taking decisions I do feel it is the completely opposite way around. They are taken quite quickly. The trick in order to get decisions taken is to make sure you speak with the right person. And right person here means the person who actually has the authority to make the decision. If you don’t manage to reach out to the person with the right authority, you can just forget about getting the decision you are looking for. The person you speak with will probably not answer at all, and he/she will surely not be able to give you the answer you are looking for.

In Norway it is quite a bit different. We are really concerned about that everyone should have their say, and everyone should be able to give their input. Quite a few decisions in Norway are taken by a management committee or something like that. What I have observed is that this often leads to delays in making the final decision. Sometimes there are just too many people who will have their say, and it can end up with nothing being decided at all. On the other hand, we can hope that those decisions are thought about more in detail, and hence better prepared.

Why is it like this? I think there are a few reasons. One is probably the hierarchy that exists in the whole Indian society. We can probably pitch it down to the religion and how the hierarchy in the Hindu religion works. As opposite to Norway, it is part of the society that people do have different values and then should have different implications on decision. But I think that one other reason, that is at least as important, is the state of maturity in the different countries. Norway is in many ways a well established country, with a well established economy. India at the other hand is still an emerging country that likes to change at a rapid speed, in order to reach to the same level as where Norway and other countries are. In order to get there, you have to take some risks, and to make things happen faster. Also, I do feel that it is kind of more ok to fail in India. Yes, you might lose some prestige, but you will be respected for having tried. And there are so many people around that even if some people fail, there will always be someone else who can pick up
on it and make the idea to work.

What do you think?

Talk to you soon!

Karsten

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One thought on “Different management styles in India and Norway

  1. A small truth about the changing nature of demographics and the increasing differences between the rich and the poor in Norway. By now, its quite easy to find the acceptance in the Norwegian society for a Danish doctor, the Polish construction worker and the African or some other coloured person being in the business of cleaning toilets and streets. You see how this hierarchy is set up. Its not my speculation but rather confirmed by Norwegian social scientists. There is indeed a caste system that is creeping in our social fabric and may be one could use the debate about foreign doctors in Norway to clarify this a little. The highest caste among medical docs could be designated to ofcourse Norwegian educated docs, followed by nordic educated where there are hardly any extra requirements to be integrated in to the system. The next, the third level is the European doctor from outside the Nordic area and finally the untouchable from outside the EU. The system is built up in such a way that an hierarchy has been set up so that if you are educated outside the EU you dont have chance and they will do everything in their ability to keep you out. Outside Nordic area its a bit difficult but they havve now been forced by efta to given in, Nordic however educated is easily integrated. Thus you see whats happening here……there are similarities with the 4-tiered caste systme in India….and the sad part is that the authorities do this act of systematic discrimination without an iota of conclusive evidence rather based on media hype, perceptions, appearances and amount of melanin. Norway is an egalitarian society, but their an increasing tendency in our society where egalitarianism and solidarity is only for those who are like us or try hard to be like us…..its a bitter pill to swallow.

    Reply

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