GRA 6812 Doing Business in Norway
This course takes the student into internationally competitive Norwegian exports businesses by a combination of physical visits and tailor-made literature, aiming to combine macro and micro level perspectives in order to shed light on how Norwegian business contribute to the creation of one of the world’s richest nations.
The course is aimed at students who want to understand the social organization of Norwegian business in a comparative perspective. What is unique about Norway? And where does Norway mirror other countries? The course will contribute to students’ ability to operate in a Norwegian business context, but also more generally get a holistic understanding of the social, including legal, underpinnings of business practice and thereby new perspectives on the social limitations and possibilities of running businesses.
The business-cases are deliberately chosen from typical exporting companies on the Western coast of Norway to give insights into important dimensions of the Norwegian economy, from the pragmatic and cunning utilization of natural resources of very different kinds, via the role of empowered employees in local communities, and clever and customer-fitted technology, to state-level policies supporting a flexible and internationalized economy. The visits are supported by lectures that give context and that compare Norway to other countries through a theoretical approach to how various nations organise their economies. While other countries richly endowed with natural resources more often than not have found this advantage to be a curse, Norway is – and has been – able to use such a situation to its advantage.
This course aims to show how practice at the factory floor combines with national-level policies and regulations to contribute create a wealthy nation.
Students should be able to distinguish Norwegian business practices and business context from those of other nations. They should also have a basic understanding of the “Varieties of capitalism”-approach, and thereby a theoretical understanding of how Norway compare and differ from other nations in the institutional set-up of its economy: An open, participatory economy that aims at fairly egalitarian ideals between people both in the workplace but also in terms of geographical location. It is an economy that is strongly influenced by government politics and parliamentary power. Through the course the students also learn something about a nation’s individual and successful adaptation to the competitive international economy, an experience that is not written up as a prescription in textbooks in business schools.
The course should enlighten students to Norwegian ways of doing business, and inspire them in their own careers. The Norwegian model might be exportable in some format. Students will also be able to demonstrate their ability to analyze complex social phenomena that are associated with businesses in their environments. They will gain skills in using prior academic knowledge in new ways in order to write their assignment. Through the plant visits, students will learn how to gather oral information and communicate with business people. They will learn how to combine academic reflection with insights taken from real life.
The course is reflective in kind, but as a business school course gives particular attention to how economic and business processes are influenced – even governed – by trust, ethics, values, laws and practicalities. The course in general gives room for non-economic variables: those things that make national economies distinct from each other. There are more to an economy than profit maximization and even the application of social corporate responsibility. One such take away may be that businesses in localities reflect as much the people within as they do the shareholder value dimension.
This course revolves around an intense trip to Western Norway with company visits as an important part.
1. Oslo (BI)
An open and collaborative economy (3 hours)
- Norwegian business – an overview
- An overview of the course
- How to write your term paper: the case and the bigger picture
Doing business in Norway: the institutional dimension (5 hours)
- the institutional structure of the Norwegian economy
- “the Norwegian model”
- Participation at the board level: women and employees
- business law (in a comparative perspective)
Preparing for the trip (3)
- Legitamacy in Norwegian business: democratic accountability
- Feedback on outlines
2. Western Norway, Bergen (BI)
Important industries of Norway (6)
- Oil and gas
- Fish farming
Suggested company visits (18)
- Mongstad (oil – and energy trade)
- Elkem, Svelgen (knowledgeable workers, national competence)
- Coast (Fish farming)
- A shipping company in Bergen
3. Oslo (BI)
Bringing it together (4)
Costs associated with the study trip will be for the students' own account, and will not be covered by BI Norwegian Business School.
Please note that while attendance is not compulsory in all courses, it is the student’s own responsibility to obtain any information provided in class.
All courses in the Masters programme will assume that students have fulfilled the admission requirements for the programme. In addition, courses in second, third and/or fourth semester can have spesific prerequisites and will assume that students have followed normal study progression. For double degree and exchange students, please note that equivalent courses are accepted.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there may be deviations in teaching and learning activities as well as exams, compared with what is described in this course description.
Information about what is taught on campus and other digital forms will be presented with the lecture plan before the start of the course each semester.
|Exam category||Weight||Invigilation||Duration||Grouping||Comment exam|
Form of assessment:
Internal and external examiner
Examination when next scheduled course
|100||No||1 Semester(s)||Group/Individual ( 1 - 3)||Students are to write a term paper in groups, and the groups will each be assigned an individual company as a case for their paper. The group’s are expected to collect material from their companies prior to and after the visits, and to use the company visits as a data collecting opportunity. The students are free to chose the angle of their term paper, but the case must be linked with theoretical and general perspectives introduced in the course.|
|Form of assessment:||Written submission|
|Grouping (size):||Group/Individual (1-3)|
|Comment:||Students are to write a term paper in groups, and the groups will each be assigned an individual company as a case for their paper. The group’s are expected to collect material from their companies prior to and after the visits, and to use the company visits as a data collecting opportunity. The students are free to chose the angle of their term paper, but the case must be linked with theoretical and general perspectives introduced in the course.|
|Resit:||Examination when next scheduled course|
A course of 1 ECTS credit corresponds to a workload of 26-30 hours. Therefore a course of 6 ECTS credits corresponds to a workload of at least 160 hours.