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CWT International Limited

COMPLETE COMMUNICATION GUIDELINES Online version now available at: guidelines_w


Abby Cheng, Director 

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. The opening lines from Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities perfectly summarize CWT International Limited in the past 3 months.

The unparalleled success and quality of our company’s rapid expansion to Europe is followed by severe conflicts arise from miscommunications due to cultural differences. Fortunate enough, we have appointed a new Director of Corporate Relations- Abby Cheng, who combines passion for CWT International Limited and rich intercultural communication experiences both inside and outside the organization. Here, I would like to pay tribute to Ms Cheng for preparing the Complete Communication Guidelines for CWT staffs, in hopes of giving us a better understanding of communication with our Norwegian business partners. We look forward to grow as we seek to build on the successes and learn from the failings like no other.

CONTENT Overview  Culture  Hierarchy & Decision-Making  Motivation  Small Talk Topics  Non-verbal Communication  Dress & Formality 


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Capital: Oslo Area: 323,802 km² Population: 4,610,820 (2006 estimate) Languages: Bokmal Norwegian (official), Nynorsk Norwegian (official), Sami, Finnish. Religions: Church of Norway - 85.7%, Pentecostal - 1%, Roman Catholic - 1%, other Christian - 2.4%, Muslim - 1.8%, others - 8.1%. Ethnic Groups: Norwegian, Sami.


Gender: Gender equality is greatly emphasized in Norway. There are more women than men in management positions. Attitude towards sexuality, sexual orientation tend to be liberal. Religion: Most Norwegians are members of the Church of Norway by birth but most are not pious or practicing Lutherans. Class: Norway is a class free society. Most people would be regarded as middle class. Wealth gap is insignificant. Most people own their own homes. Ethnicity: Most Norwegians are not used to living with other ethnic groups around them. Gender and religion have no impact on the workplace but working with foreigners can be a challenge for Norwegians. This is where Hong Kong colleagues would have a great deal to offer.


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In terms of hierarchy, Norway is much liberal than Hong Kong. Equality is stressed and upheld at workplace. Each employee is granted equal rights to speak in groups and meetings. Conclusion should be reached with consensus Team Leader serves as a moderator rather than a decision-maker. Points raised should be direct and simple. High level of transparency is demanded; junior is granted the right to question senior for clarification.


Unlike Hong Kong, Norwegians appreciate individual achievement instead of collective work. Norwegians’ main motivations come from job satisfaction, commitment & loyalty. Hong Kong colleagues are advised to praise and recognize Norwegians’ individual effort eg. write personal thank you note, send flowers.


Norwegians are less concerned about losing jobs or unemployment than Hong Kongers. Norwegians view work as a part of life, and a means of maintaining an enjoyable life. Norwegians obey rules and are always punctual, but demands a certain extent of freedom. Relationships are prioritized before work; thus it is normal for Norwegians to excuse themselves from work due to relationship issues.

SMALL TALK TOPICS 5 most-rated topics The Nobel Prize is a well-known feature of the Norwegian culture Folk Music and Norwegian composers such as Grieg Travel and experiences in other countries Current events and politics – if you know what you’re talking about Sports – especially football (soccer), biathlon, cross-country skiing, and rally driving 4 least-rated topics

Any criticism of the Norwegian government or culture Comparison of salaries Paying compliments to people you have just met – compliments are typically well earned Bragging or anything associated with rank, status and showiness


Norwegians appear to be less aggressive than Hong Kongers. Hence, it is crucial for our colleagues to stay moderate and pay attention to the followings when communicating with Norwegian colleagues.



Maintain a distance when speaking

Norwegians generally have a very strong sense of space and will generally stand so that the tips of the fingers of his or her outstretched arm just barely touch the other person.



Eye contact

Regular eye contact is used in judging whether a person is trustworthy. It is considered a sign of dishonesty if a person refuses to or is reluctant to make eye contact.



Shake hands

Men and women usually shake hands when greeting. In some cases, men and women will give each other a kiss on each cheek. People normally only touch those who they are very familiar with.


Norwegians generally dress informally at both workplace and home. In summer, they may even wear t-shirts and shorts.


CWT International Limited in the past 3 months was characterized by unparalleled challenges and extraordinary opportunities. It was a period of significant achievements even with insufficient communication support. In order to align with our expansion plan to Norway, CWT International Limited will continue to strive for excellence while also becoming more agile as an organization, equipping its employees with sufficient intercultural communication knowledge while continuing to forge new directions.


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Online version now available at: guidelines_w

Complete communication guidelines  
Complete communication guidelines