The Telegraph published an article today entitled, “Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore top list of least corrupt countries,” and highlighted the evaluation from 10 institutions on the perceived levels of corruption. Following these countries is Sweden and Finland.
An interesting perspective was provided by the President of the British Chamber of Commerce stating:
“The Danish mentality is to a great extent permeated by a Scandinavian cultural heritage known as ‘Jante Law’, where modesty, punctuality and equality are important measuring tools in the Danish way of life.
“For this reason, few people become seriously rich and even fewer are seriously poor. This rule of life is never very far from the surface of Danish life.
“In a business context, this will mean that Danes celebrate promotion with sensitivity and do not like people who promote themselves bombastically and at the expense of others.
“There is a sense of watchdog mentality underlying the Danish way of life resulting in very clear ‘dos and don’ts’”.
“Furthermore, from a business perspective, it can take a very long time (and therefore a local presence) to earn the trust of a company in a supplier role and this trust can be lost very quickly.”
This survey and these comments reveal a lot about the culture and attitude of Danes in general, and while it is a very positive thing not to have corruption in a nation, flexibility is important as is freedom of expression and individuality. The “Jante Law” mentioned permeates society and can also be a hinderance to the country and it’s ability to be competitive and cooperate, in my opinion. The general attitude described here, particularly relating to trust, also relates to foreigners not just companies. This creates a strong homogenous society, however potentially prevents true integration and contribution from talented foreigners that wish to make a life here.