Case 09: Nordic Values

Lars Torkelson is CEO of Airlift A/S, a Norwegian logistics company specialized in servicing offshore oil platforms from the mainland. He recently negotiated a tentative agreement with James Pembrooke-Tarleton IV, head of a similar British firm, to carry out a joint logistics project in the North Sea.

The two CEOs agreed to have key employees of both companies meet together for a couple of days in Oslo to get to know each other. Lars suggested starting off with a dinner meeting the first night.

When the British boss arrived at the restaurant with his deputy managing director, Tarleton was startled to see that Lars had invited all of his helicopter pilots along with his whole team of mechanics and maintenance workers. “So, where are all your guys?” Lars asked with a smile as poured James a cold beer.

“Well,” replied Pembrooke-Tarleton stiffly, looking at the large Norwegian group, “This is not the way we do things in my company.”

Lars could see at once that cooperation between the two firms was not getting off to good start. He wondered how their joint project was going to work out.


In the actual case this proposed joint-venture did not work out. Comparing the business cultures of Britain and Norway, which cultural difference would you say played the major role in the failure to come to agreement?

Explain your choice.