Sweden – humble and moderate
Entrepreneurs from Sweden and other Nordic countries have been slow to proclaim their accomplishments to the wider world and this may be due to the so-called Law of Jante. Taken from a book by the Danish author Aksel Sandemose, the concept suggests that the culture within Scandinavian countries discourages people from promoting their own achievements over those of others. Essentially, the Law of Jante means “You are not to think you are anyone special or that you’re better than us”.
The concept is often used to explain the pattern of group behaviour within Scandinavian communities that shuns self-promotion and achievement as unworthy and inappropriate. Beyond that, it has engendered in Scandinavian society a sense of humility and a respect for moderation that has profoundly affected the way people operate financially, where it’s better to limit risk and certainly not to focus openly on personal gain.
Some see the mindset embodied in the Law of Jante as a barrier to entrepreneurial and national economic success, while others see it as a tool that has protected Scandinavians from failure, preventing them from taking the same economic risks that led much of the Western world to the brink of financial apocalypse beginning in 2008. There was no housing bubble in Sweden, in part because it would seem foolish for anyone to take on more debt than necessary for essential living. Broadly, the Jante mindset has had a stabilising influence on Scandinavian society and personal finance.
While Jante still permeates Scandinavian society, modern Sweden is now moving towards self-service and capitalism. Nevertheless, the approach is deeply ingrained and the question “Is that necessary?” is always being asked.
Share any Jante experience you may have had with Swedish business associates.
Sources: Wikipedia and International Business Times
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