An interesting newspaper article caught my eyes yesterday, in "Dagens Næringsliv", the Norwegian equivalent to the Wall Street Journal. Asking 400 managers in major companies in all four countries, the article compared the top seven business risks, or rather: business fears, in Scandinavia, i.e. Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland. Interestingly, what is most on managers' minds is very different from country to country.


You would think that businesses, albeit they may be different in scope and geographical location, would have more or less the same fears when averaged out across the board, but that is definitively not the case here. Interestingly, supply chain risks do not rank very high. Actually, unless you count them in implicitly, they do not rank at all...almost.


But what do business leaders in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland fear the most?



In Norway, it is loss of key personnel, perhaps like it is described in this cartoon. The loss of key personnel does not seem to matter at all to leaders the other countries.This is difficult to explain. Perhaps it's harder to find qualified employees in Norway, thus making losing them a frightening scenario?


In Denmark it is disasters, terror attacks and political upheaval. In Sweden, same. In the other countries that raises very little concern. Obviously the drama that ensued in Denmark after the publication of the Mohammad cartoons plays a role here, and Sweden has had its share of assasinations and bomb scares, while Norway has peacefully escaped these calamities.


Note that Finland doesn't seem to fear much at all, but if anything, it would be loss of IT, electricity or or telecommunications. Maybe it's their "sisu" making its mark here?


Norway also ranks (presumably bad) media coverage as one of their major fears, along with an economical recession. While the latter also matters to business elsewhere, media coverage is only a concern to Norwegians. Is our press that bad?


Also noteworthy is that problems with partners or suppliers (implicitly: supply chain risks) are on some managers minds in Sweden and Denmark, but not in the other countries.


Well, the picture of what the biggest fears in business are, is muddled at best, at least as far as Scandinavia is concerned. And I hope that it is not the true picture. If all Norwegian managers are worried about is losing their key staff, then that makes me worried.


That said, what would be your biggest fear on the list above? Or are there other items on your agenda, as Bill Dubois asked in his post on What else could go wrong?


A link to the newspaper article (in Norwegian) with background information on the survey can be found in this post on