A Nordic Perspective on Humanizing Business

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Sustainable Vikings! While Vikings of the past are associated with seafaring and pillaging, the modern-day Vikings of the Nordic business community are global sustainability leaders who have constructed companies and business practices that put humanization of business at the core. In this chapter, we explore the Nordic context and offer lessons regarding how the Nordics have humanized business. We provide historical overview to describe the deep seated democratic traditions of the Nordic region that include an embracement of the concept of “industrial democracy” and a more cooperative approach to business than experienced in other business contexts, such as the U.S. We then highlight specific examples of humanizing business with examples from such leading Nordic companies as IKEA, H&M, Novo Nordisk, Carlsberg, Ericsson, Norsk Hydro, and Equinor (formerly Statoil). And we consider current and likely future trends in humanizing business drawing in considerations to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the comparatively strong performance of Nordic countries in the SDGSs that has given rise to the moniker of “Sustainable Vikings.”
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHumanizing Business : What Humanities Can Say to Business
EditorsMichel Dion, R. Edward Freeman, Sergiy D. Dmytriyev
Number of pages17
Place of PublicationCham
Publication date2022
ISBN (Print)9783030722036
ISBN (Electronic)9783030722043
Publication statusPublished - 2022
SeriesIssues in Business Ethics


  • Nordic business community
  • Global sustainability
  • Industrial democracy
  • Cooperation

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