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Management in Business

What management was based on in the past? Should we respect or dread our leaders? This question echoes the age-old contemplations of Niccolò Machiavelli. Throughout history, the prevailing model in various societies—be it in schools, governments, homes, or workplaces—has often leaned towards instilling fear. Factories have enforced stringent rules to enhance productivity, offices have witnessed anxious employees unable to project a positive demeanor to clients, and stifling controls in advertising have stifled creativity.

managementThe specter of fear from authority continues to wield influence even in modern times. In developed nations, many leaders still rely on fear, and their subordinates endure it, viewing it as the norm. Why endure such an environment? Some find pride in navigating through challenges, while others prefer adherence to strict rules. Certain individuals believe that a firm hand from a leader could push them to surpass their limitations. There are situations where a fear-based leadership style is deemed necessary to discourage risky behaviors.

In some countries, leaders adopt an autocratic, stern approach. Surprisingly, such leaders can earn profound respect when they combine autocracy with genuine concern for their team. This phenomenon is notably observable in sports, where coaches demand and intimidate yet inspire unwavering loyalty due to their evident care and compassion.

However, should leaders aim to instill fear among their team members? The answer is a resounding no. Ruling through force and intimidation carries inherent drawbacks. Aggressive behavior often stems from personal insecurities. An overbearing style is unlikely to guide a company towards lasting success and productivity. On the flip side, should leaders opt for a softer approach? Once again, no. A gentle demeanor can be equally ineffective and insincere.

In Norway, numerous industrial firms grapple with the fear of bankruptcy, prompting investments in technological advancements. There’s a preference to avoid hiring foreigners and immigrants, except when local experts are unavailable. This hints at an undercurrent of xenophobia, acknowledged but not openly discussed. While the media may portray a positive image of Norway, the Norwegian government allocates considerable resources annually to downplay the xenophobic tendencies among its citizens to the international press.

Searching online for articles on racism in Norway and discrimination by Norwegian employers yields minimal results. Does this imply their absence? Quite the contrary. Why are Norwegians hesitant to employ immigrants and foreigners? Perhaps it’s rooted in comfort. Hiring locals spares them complications, as they’re more familiar with Norwegians, whereas non-Norwegians remain somewhat enigmatic. The truth about “Janteloven” is rarely covered in articles, be it in Norwegian or any other language. This Scandinavian code admonishes, “You are not better than us!” It criticizes individual achievement, fostering skepticism toward exceptional individuals. Only when foreign expertise is absolutely essential, typically within sectors like education or the oil industry, do they opt for non-Norwegians. It’s no surprise that many non-Norwegians eventually leave the country.

Anders Breivik’s heinous act of murdering young Norwegians on Utøya island a few years back was, in part, fueled by the oppressive tenets of Janteloven. Nationalism becomes perilous when exploited by malevolent forces, morphing into an imperialist weapon.

Returning to the realm of management, poor leadership yields catastrophic outcomes. Despite frequent meetings and sporadic courses, many leaders falter. In Norway, the root of this problem lies in the wholesale adoption of U.S.-crafted strategies. Every country and every company must tailor their management techniques to fit their unique culture, economy, and work environment.

American and Norwegian work environments differ significantly. An individual with an American mindset in a Norwegian firm might find themselves isolated by local coworkers. Of course, there are exceptions. If a manager in a Norwegian insurance firm adopts a quintessential American strategy, they risk the company’s economic stability and invite failure.

This inflexibility leads numerous Norwegian companies to bankruptcy. Clinging to outdated strategies breeds future complications. Adaptability within an organization is paramount. Leaders and managers should embrace a strong, liberal, and democratic approach to decision-making for enduring success. They must harmonize their approach with the local culture and work environment.

A company’s future hinges on an effective management system and strategy. This approach can partly alleviate unemployment and economic issues. Successful leaders adapt their style accordingly. It is immaterial for a leader to instill fear. A commendable leader concentrates on bolstering company productivity, trimming budgets, and fostering a conducive work atmosphere.

Maria Johnsen's quote about fear