“On Monday, Mr Lars Svensson came down to share with us on the business operations of IKEA, and also, his views on sustainability. The presentation was interesting and he shared a video which gave us a much clearer picture on Swedish culture and what to expect when we are there.
The highlight of the presentation came when Mr Svensson opened the floor to Q&A after the video. While Mr Svensson had prepared slides for his presentation, it was evident that he thoroughly enjoyed the interaction during Q&A than to go ahead with his presentation. I guess that’s one aspect that sets Scandinavians apart from Asians. Most Asians, like myself, would very much prefer to go ahead with what we have prepared and handle Q&A after we are done presenting. I think this boils down to the concept of low power distance in Scandinavia compared to Asian countries. I came across an article on the Web on Hofstede’s Power Distance Index, and Norway, Sweden and Denmark were at the bottom 10 of the list. Topping the list were Asian countries such as Malaysia.
The notion of sustainability in IKEA was questioned by the class but I felt Mr Svensson handled the questions well. While Mr Svensson clearly explained the importance of sustainability in IKEA’s corporate culture, I still do have my reservations. Can a company really have that much involvement in sustainability and societal awareness? How can a company like IKEA stay so focused in sustainability with the amount of competition it faces globally? These are questions that I hope will be answered during our trip to Scandinavia.”
– Iu WeiBo