Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Culture clash impacts on bottom line in industry, Norwegian example shows

Date:
November 12, 2013
Source:
SINTEF
Summary:
Flat organizations confuse foreign workers, and this in turn reduces Norwegian industrial efficiency.

SINTEF will clarify what foreigners should expect to find when they come to work for a Norwegian company" says Hanne Finnestrand at SINTEF.
Credit: Kværner

Flat organisations confuse foreign workers, and this in turn reduces Norwegian industrial efficiency.

Related Articles


Norwegian researchers are now getting to grips with this issue. In collaboration with Grande Entreprenør and Kværner Verdal, SINTEF is kicking off a project to find a way of organising work which promotes the Norwegian participatory model while at the same time maintaining high production efficiency in the presence of high proportions of contract workers.

"In this project we shall, among other things, construct a model in which we will clarify what foreigners should expect to find when they come to work for a Norwegian company" says Hanne Finnestrand at SINTEF. "We aren't talking about employment rights and obligations, but work and management practices and clear communication; about requirements and the expectation that workers should get involved and take responsibility for major aspects of the internal value chain," she says.

"Our starting point is the organisational concept 'High-Performance Work Systems' (HPWS), adapted to Norwegian conditions," she adds.

Like a house of cards

Both the construction and supply industries have found that a culture clash takes place when eastern Europeans come to work in Norway. They are used to a strict hierarchical working regime and more direct leadership styles than we practise here.

In flat, Norwegian organisationaI structures, projects are frequently managed by skilled workers who assume responsibility for, and plan and coordinate, tasks.

"There is nothing wrong with foreign workers' technical skills and expertise. They have simply been brought up in another industrial culture," says Finnestrand.

This situation has had an impact on Norwegian companies, and has created problems linked to management and efficient operation. "Several Norwegian companies fall apart like a house of cards," adds Finnestrand, referring to interviews conducted with managers in the shipyard, construction and supply industries. "Skilled foreign workers prefer and are used to being told what to do," she says.

"Norwegian companies with a high proportion of foreign workers are thus experiencing a reversal to multi-layered organisational structures which were the norm 30 years ago. Micromanagement entails higher management and supervisory costs, which in turn leads to companies pricing themselves out of the global market," says Finnestad.

Information and communication

Researchers will now be working together with the companies to find out how they should structure themselves in terms of skills development, communication and management practices, so that they can become good hosts and at the same time maintain efficiency and development levels.

"We are evaluating tools already available on the market," says Finnestad. "E-learning may be one approach. Another idea is the use of information screens in the workplace," she says. "Since, among themselves, workers from Poland and the Baltic states often only speak their own languages, visualising operations on a screen may help to lower barriers to reading and writing," she adds.

How do you achieve learning?

Finnestrand emphasises that they won't just be developing a training programme, but also helping towards creating an organisational concept.

"When skilled eastern European workers come to Norway, it's often for only a few months at a time. In these cases training programmes provide only a short-term solution for the companies," she says. "On the other hand, an organisational concept will be seen as a fundamental part of the company, sending out a clear 'this is how we do things here' message," she adds.

The four-year project is now well under way, and researchers are currently out in the production environment conducting interviews, making observations, and having discussions with people in all parts of the company.

All suggestions and ideas for improvement will be tested with skilled workers, union representatives, managers and other employees in the building and construction and supply industries.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by SINTEF. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

SINTEF. "Culture clash impacts on bottom line in industry, Norwegian example shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131112091011.htm>.
SINTEF. (2013, November 12). Culture clash impacts on bottom line in industry, Norwegian example shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131112091011.htm
SINTEF. "Culture clash impacts on bottom line in industry, Norwegian example shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131112091011.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) — Fears of Ebola are keeping doctors and patients alike away from hospitals in the West African nation of Guinea. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Rising Death Toll, Many Survive Ebola

Despite Rising Death Toll, Many Survive Ebola

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) — The family of a Dallas nurse infected with Ebola in the US says doctors can no longer detect the virus in her. Despite the mounting death toll in West Africa, there are survivors there too. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) — A scandal involving bogus classes and inflated grades at the University of North Carolina was bigger than previously reported, a new investigation found. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — Inspired by the way a chameleon changes its colour to disguise itself; scientists in Poland want to replace traditional camouflage paint with thousands of electrochromic plates that will continuously change colour to blend with its surroundings. The first PL-01 concept tank prototype will be tested within a few years, with scientists predicting that a similar technology could even be woven into the fabric of a soldiers' clothing making them virtually invisible to the naked eye. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins