The Cultural Difference!


I’ve been back in the UK for a few days this week, working from the UK office down in Somerset. It has made a nice change, although I have missed my Swedish team quite alot. There are big cultural differences between the 2 countries, despite all Swedes speaking English. But, when you’re living there, you don’t realise how different things really are. Attitudes in Sweden are so much more can do – every challenge I have thrown at them, or the business has thrown at them has just been dealt with – minimal fuss and no moaning. Every curve ball has been caught and thrown back at hit the target 90% of the time. In the UK we seem much more reticent to get on with it. Everything has to be discussed, thought through, had a meeting over and then re-discussed before action taken. There are pros and cons to both ways of approaching things, although my default behaviour is to always get on with it. To be fair that behaviour has gotten me into trouble lots and lots of times, however it has also given me some fantastic experiences that I may not have done, had I not got on with it. As I have said before the Swedes always stop for lunch, adding a full hour off to your day. However it has yet to feel that we do less work because of it. Although I am realising that maybe this can do attitude enables us to have a proper lunch break and just not spend so much time thinking things through?!

One of the other major differences is that the Swedes take things much more literally. For example, when I rang my landlady to say the electric had gone in the apartment, her response was “But I am now at work” the inference being that she was at work and was not going to be able to deal with it  until she returned home that evening. Obviously we had a conversation about how that wasn’t an acceptable timescale, but my point remains. This also tends to resolve issues more quickly and people are quite accepting of the literal state of affairs. It minimises debate on things and certainly stops all the gossiping around the water cooler. Personally I find it quite refreshing, whether it will lead to problems remains to be seen. I’ll let you know.


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