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How to find the Key to Sweden

The Local · 2 Sep 2010, 18:23

Published: 02 Sep 2010 18:23 GMT+02:00

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Sweden is one of the most globalized economies in the world. For many international professionals moving here, the widespread use of English and the modern, open and friendly business environment can easily create the impression that there are no cultural barriers to doing business.

It all seems so open, flexible and multicultural - and in many ways it is.

But those tell-tale Swedish traits - business meetings that appear not to come to a decision, consensual decision-making, the summer shutdown - are just the most obvious signs of a unique business culture. Learning how to adapt to this culture can be the key to success.

The Key to Sweden conference, organized by The Local and Företagsuniversitetet, will look at these issues and ask what foreign professionals and businesspeople working in Sweden can do to adapt to the Swedish environment.

Speakers at the conference will include international communications consultant Ken Taylor, who will explain the Dos and Don’ts of Swedish business. Ulf Boman from Kairos Future will look at how Swedes feel about working with foreign colleagues. Also, Elisabeth Tarras-Wahlberg, a long-serving spokesperson for the Swedish royal family, will explain why the monarchy retains such strong support.

Guests at the conference will also hear from leading executive Maria Khorsand, who moved to Sweden from the US in 1987, and has since risen to become CEO of SP Technical Research, with a staff of over 800 and a turnover of over 800 million kronor.

A panel discussion between some of the speakers and other leading entrepreneurs and executives will be followed by a buffet and a chance to meet the speakers and other guests.

The conference takes place at Moderna Museet in Stockholm on Thursday, September 30th.

Story continues below…


A full programme for the conference can be found at www.thekeytosweden.se

Tickets to the event, which cost 2900 kronor, can be booked by sending your details to konferens@foretagsuniversitetet.se or by phoning +46 (0)8-600 62 00.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

20:51 September 2, 2010 by mjennin2
Boy in picture = Beautiful.

I want.
22:56 September 2, 2010 by mikmak
Gah I hate stock photos! Especially business setting stock photos, they always look like frickin serial killers or cult followers.
10:01 September 3, 2010 by mysticbumwipe
As an Englishman living in Sweden for the last ten years I must say I recognise these traits with some considerable feeling:

..."those tell-tale Swedish traits: business meetings that appear not to come to a decision, consensual decision-making..."
14:24 September 3, 2010 by seychelle_18
@mjennin2 - I agree with you. I am mesmerized by his beautiful face with simple yet appealing smile :-D
18:03 September 3, 2010 by stelmed
2900 SEK????, Are you people crazy?
18:38 September 3, 2010 by Chuy
Yeah, this is a stock photo; This photo is also used as a template for a website.
04:31 September 4, 2010 by travels

I agree!
15:24 September 4, 2010 by mikmak
"simple yet appealing smile"!? That's a smile you'd give someone tied up in the trunk of your car, "Yes scream all you want, no one is going to hear you" :)
21:16 September 4, 2010 by StockholmSam
Two girls in the picture = beautiful!

I want!

Preferably both at the same time.
01:12 September 5, 2010 by Hurly
Mmmmm.. mums..

Stock photo or not.. that is one delicious looking man..
09:22 September 5, 2010 by seychelle_18
@mikmak - Are you a loner or you just always judge people through the way they smile. I would love to smile to every person that I met and smiling is the cheapest beauty regimen I would love to afford. What's wrong with the smile?

No matter what, he is totally good looking and I would always be appreciating the beauty within everything rather that critize.
10:20 September 5, 2010 by mikmak
Cause it's a serial killer smile, like this one http://img189.imageshack.us/img189/6002/creepykidfirefighters.jpg

And appreciating the beauty within doesn't mean what you seem to think it means.
10:55 September 5, 2010 by seychelle_18
mikmak - the image on the link is really creepy. That made me think but how do you think the people should smile so it won't look like a serial killer smile?
11:05 September 5, 2010 by mikmak
Fake smiles are hard to spot! I just did the BBC test "Spot the fake smile" (http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/mind/surveys/smiles/) and got 15/20, most of the ones I missed were fakes, so I do tend to err on the positive side ;) How many can you catch?
11:25 September 5, 2010 by seychelle_18
Wow, this is so interesting. I took the test and I've got 15/20. I missed 3 genuine and 2 fake smile so it is easier for me to detect fake smile :-D
14:14 September 5, 2010 by Luke35711
The fact that most comments on this posting are about the picture and the smiles, says most you need to know about Swedish business culture. Somebody has been adapting already.

Swedish business culture is very good at some things and disastrous at others. If you want to build a block of flats, a railway station, a safe car, or design something cute looking, work with Swedes! They will do that efficiently, safely, almost effortlessly; and it will be real fun.

If your business relies on individual striving, inventiveness, individual hard work, creativity, original ideas, or communication, do NOT work with Swedes. Chances are they won't even understand what you want and become arrogant-defensive. You will get a lot of egalitarian and nationalistic push back and bad tempers; and it really will NOT be fun.

Group effort or cute design SWEDEN GOOD

Individual hard work or creativity SWEDEN BAD
17:09 September 5, 2010 by mikmak

Meh, another regurgitated troll generalization...it seems you're not so inventive yourself.
09:12 September 7, 2010 by Bob Jacobson
I think the guy is Danish.

(Just kidding.)

My experience of Swedish decisionmaking (in Malmö) contradicts the experience of the poster above. There wasn't overly much deliberating and decisions made were pretty clear cut. Maybe it's that province's proximity to the Continent. Contaminated by Copenhagen.

Thus saving time in palaver, we had more time for beer.
19:50 September 30, 2010 by jazzIIIlove
I gave that 2900 SEK and I feel more knowledgable than before about Swedes' job environment.
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