tirsdag 24. april 2012

Are Norwegians so really deadly effective at work that they can afford to work the short hours and weeks they do? Or are they purely floated on oil so-to-speak? What can other countries and employers learn from Norwegian "arbeidskultur" ?

Well the pico blog says this: It is not so much a fact that Norwegians are so much more effective minute for minute in actually executing "value added activities" and " critical processes", it is just that they spend far less time on BS: blunt and simple, they do not jump through hoops-

Well let us first exclude offshore oil fields, and shipping. People work long boring hours, and then get a lot of time off. With net export of oil far larger than the USA, who guzzle their own "gas", Norway is in a complete situation exclusion on that front: blue-eyed arabs. However it does not need to go to say that the on shore industry would necessarily be so widespread here, despite the ethos of statoil : state-owned-oil. It is pretty effective in delivering solutions to this huge local market and holding on to those "valie added processes" when metal bashing finally floats away to low cost low low land.

So out in land based industry and services, they avoid the BS: they don't read general, long winded e-mails often and tend to skim read them when on a flight for example. They are often late out with all but absolutely critical information or even tenders for jobs. '

In just doing core activities you not only of course are perhaps overall more effective in terms of hours you can tackle in a week, but also the "noise" of corporate crap is filtered and your brain works more effectively in those minutes you actually use on the core!

The fact is though, that even here, the "value added activities" tend to attract workaholics, who rise to become divisional managers or start their own companies. I know the type quite well- usually they have a domesticated wife who keeps house, home and second job together while their man works 10-12 hour days and travels 100 days of the year. Also they travel business class and go to a good few seminars, and tend to take winter, easter, juletide holidays and a week here and there rather than the common holiday in july. See the pattern: the are what some call male chauvinsists, what otherwise you should maybe call the bread-winner who follows what is described as a "traditional roles " in the family.

Finally you have to come to another pair of cultural points: there are a lot of clever engineers who have grown up on a farm or with a dad  who was a first engineer. Or been both themselves! Also they have a bit of a bloody minded way of looking at things, and egalitarian: why cant a junior engineer or I just fix this issue without a lot of meetings and permissions and approval for ideas? 

So the real back bone of "norwegian effectiveness" in my opinion is that there are some conclusions 1) work is number two in life: work hard, but short hours. 2) ignore stuff you don't think is important and focus on only the real McCoy 3) be a smart alec and ignore the glass ceiling.