In this course, we will look at how to navigate Finnish working life and how to build a career. We explore working life in Finland from societal, organisational and individual perspectives.
Career Design Lab
Thrive in Finland
Finnish work culture
While international management trends and standards have made their way to Finland, and organizational cultures differ, there are some typical characteristics in the Finnish work culture.
- Low hierarchy The culture in Finnish organizations is equalitarian and hierachy is low. Due to low power distance, people are expected to be treated as equals, regardless of rank and personal background. Work practices build on trust and self-direction and jointly agreed matters are adhered to.
- Concise communication Finland is a so-called high context culture where you need to learn how to read between the lines. For example, Finns are often frank, direct and problem-focused and can therefore come off as impolite or critical. In reality, Finns often think that what works well can be left unsaid and taken for granted. Modesty and humility are core virtues and silence often considered golden.
- Work-life balance Helsinki has been named as the best city for work-life balance and Finland as the best country in the world in a comparison of human well-being. There are many reasons for these results from long, paid vacations to generous family benefits and short commutes. Overall, Finns do not live to work but work to live. Organizational practices and society support this culture of work-life balance.
What are the main differences between the working culture of Finland and that of your home/birth country?
You can use Hoefstede's country comparison tool to identify the main differences.
Country comparisonReflect on the benefits and challenges you might experience in the Finnish working culture.