Norway is one of the countries that place emphasis on team success rather than personal excellence. Norwegians have learned to work together and achieve goals as a team. It is important to understand that this mentality is present in all aspects of life and not only in the confines of a work-related environment, where there is always a certain goal to be achieved – be it a sales number, a deadline, a conference to be held etc. In many industries though, the capitalistic view is as common in Norway as in other countries, but the old joke remains of the so-called Law of Jante (Norwegian: Janteloven), a set of rules created by Dano-Norwegian author Aksel Sandemose in an attempt to describe the negative disposition of Nordic countries towards individualism.
The ten rules (or commandments) of the Law of Jante
- You are not to think you are anything special.
- You are not to think you are as good as we are.
- You are not to think you are smarter than we are.
- You are not to convince yourself that you are better than we are.
- You are not to think you know more than we do.
- You are not to think you are more important than we are.
- You are not to think you are good at anything.
- You are not to laugh at us.
- You are not to think anyone cares about you.
- You are not to think you can teach us anything.
Now, if you are not familiar with the North-European culture, these rules may sound inexplicably harsh. Keep in mind, though, that they are only a way to express just one simple concept: we live, work and evolve as a team.