Doing Business in Norway

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Doing Business in Norway
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Norway lies west of Sweden and north of Denmark in Scandinavia in the north of Europe. Large mountains, lakes and fjords dominate the Norwegian landscape. The harsh weather conditions have greatly influenced the way Norway works. From the beginning people settled in small groups separated from each other by significant geographical features. This explains all the different dialects and various accents of the Norwegian language. It is also why there are lots of small, very close-knit communities where everybody knows everybody. Till this day Norway is still a small country in this respect, and when two Norwegians from different parts of the country meet for the first time, they are likely to ask something along the lines of “Oh, you’re from Bergen? Do you know Ole?”.

Norway is one of the richest countries in the world, and at the same time one of the smallest. The population is just about to reach 5 million people. Norway is very independent and likes to control its own affairs, which is why it is still reluctant to join the EU.

Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein are members of EFTA (the European Free Trade Area) and of the joint EU/EFTA economic area, the European Economic Area. Unlike EU-members UK and Ireland, non-EU-members Norway and Iceland are members of the Schengen visa treaty. This means that Norway receives a lot of the same benefits as the EU countries do, without actually being a part of the EU.

Norwegians are known to be very patriotic and proud of their country. They almost certainly think that Norway carries a bigger importance on the world arena than it actually does.


If one were to sum up the Norwegian communication style it would be informal, transactional and direct.

Due to the influence of egalitarianism, Norwegian business culture lacks airs and graces. On the whole people are generally easy going and informal in business dealings and communication. However, informality does not offer anyone a license to act unprofessionally. It is important to always remain polite and respectful when doing business in Norway.

Although business is transactional in nature, there is still the need to build trust and confidence. This is achieved through building rapport but at the same time providing lots on background information on yourself, experience, qualifications and that of your company. Relationships develop slowly.

Norwegians are straight-talkers and not very emotive. They have no difficulty disagreeing with people or speaking their minds within a business context as this is viewed as separately to personal life. Criticisms and the like are more often than not based on facts rather than opinion. They are scrupulous about honesty in communication, often to the point of pointing out the negatives in their own proposals in greater detail than the positives.

Doing Business records all procedures that are officially required for an entrepreneur to start up and formally operate an industrial or commercial business. These include obtaining all necessary licenses and permits and completing any required notifications, verifications or inscriptions for the company and employees with relevant authorities.

After a study of laws, regulations and publicly available information on business entry, a detailed list of procedures is developed, along with the time and cost of complying with each procedure under normal circumstances and the paid-in minimum capital requirements. Subsequently, local incorporation lawyers and government officials complete and verify the data.

Information is also collected on the sequence in which procedures are to be completed and whether procedures may be carried out simultaneously. It is assumed that any required information is readily available and that all agencies involved in the start-up process function without corruption. If answers by local experts differ, inquiries continue until the data are reconciled.

To make the data comparable across countries, several assumptions about the business and the procedures are used.

The challenges of launching a business are shown below. Included are: the number of steps entrepreneurs can expect to go through to launch, the time it takes on average, and the cost and minimum capital required as a percentage of gross national income (GNI) per capita.

Starting business in Norway

When doing business with Norwegians it is smart to keep in mind that Norwegians are informal, easy-going people. They might give the impression of being cold and distant, but that is just because they are shy and not usually on a first name basis with strangers. They like to act professionally and keep their personal feelings in check while doing business. It normally takes a while for Norwegians to open up and develop a connection. But when they finally do, the connection will be long-lasting and real. Norwegians might be suspicious of people who are too open and welcoming at first, and see this as being fake and superficial.

When doing business, Norwegians like to limit the small talk to a few minutes, and after that get straight down to business. They do not like to waste time talking about things that are beside the point. Norwegians value being on time and sticking to a planned schedule which is mutually agreed upon in advance. They prefer not to work overtime, and if a problem is not solved by 4 pm on a Friday afternoon, it is better to just leave it until Monday morning. Norwegians are also known to separate their professional life from their private life. When a meeting is over, they usually go their separate ways, and are not likely to invite a new business contact to their home. Norwegians put a very high price on their private life, and value spending time with friends and family. In the weekends they like to get away from the stress of their everyday life, so a majority owns a “hytte”, which is a cabin/mountain house, situated in idyllic, natural surroundings. They love their hillsides, lakes and mountains, and are huge fans of mountain walking, hiking and fishing.

The time and cost required to resolve bankruptcies is shown below. The data identifies weaknesses in existing bankruptcy law and the main procedural and administrative bottlenecks in the bankruptcy process. The recovery rate, expressed in terms of how many cents on the dollar claimants recover from the insolvent firm, is also shown.

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