Contouring Sustainability: Cultural Configurations of Nordic Firms

  • Olga Stangej Vilnius University Business School, Lithuania
  • Inga Minelgaite School of Business, University of Iceland, Iceland
  • Christopher Leupold Elon University, Elon, U.S.A


Research Question: This article outlines and explains a unique cultural configuration of organizations in the Nordics – the region that embodies linkages between sustainability, societal, cultural context, and organizational culture. Motivation: Our goal was to offer a holistic approach that incorporates national and organizational perspectives as they apply to Nordic organizations’ culture, as culture is typically examined either through a) the lens of its national culture, or, b) through specific assumptions, beliefs and values, and artifacts that exist in the institution itself. Idea: Building on theoretical underpinnings from models of national culture and a separate framework for examining organizational culture, we examine how the links among cultural artifacts, espoused values and beliefs, and basic underlying assumptions are established in Nordic organizations and how they complement previous findings about the Nordic cultural cluster in general. Findings: This integrative analysis suggests that the highly prominent central tendencies of the Nordics across core cultural dimensions are deeply rooted as basic underlying assumptions within the Nordic culture that are ultimately translated into a set of observable artifacts. Likewise, the moderately expressed tendencies have not yet been transformed into underlying assumptions and are accompanied with mixed artifacts. Contribution: This paper expands our existing understanding regarding the interplay of national and organizational culture in specific cultural cluster – Nordic cluster, which is characterized by high achievements in sustainability-orientated societal-level outcomes.

Author Biographies

Olga Stangej, Vilnius University Business School, Lithuania

Dr. Olga Stangej is an Associate Professor at Vilnius University Business School (Lithuania), where she delivers courses on entrepreneurship and is in charge of the Entrepreneurship MBA programme. Her research, broader educational activities, and projects lie within the domains of leadership and family businesses.



Inga Minelgaite, School of Business, University of Iceland, Iceland

Dr.Inga Minelgaite is an Associate Professor at the School of Business, University of Iceland and Head at Institute for Project Management. Her main field of research is cross-cultural leadership and leadership in project management. Inga has published a number of articles, book chapters, and written a book on leadership in Iceland ‘Demystifying leadership in Iceland’.  Inga is one of the leaders of global FEELS (Fellow endorsed effective leadership and sustainability) research network. Inga has more than 15 years middle and top management experience in various business sectors in multiple countries.


Christopher Leupold, Elon University, Elon, U.S.A

Christopher R. Leupold, Ph.D., is the Isabella Cannon Professor of Leadership and Professor of Psychology at Elon University, located in North Carolina, U.S.A. He earned his B.A. in psychology from the University of Notre Dame and his M.A. and Ph.D. in industrial/organizational psychology at The University of North Carolina and Wayne State University, respectively. His primary teaching and research interests are in leadership assessment and development, teams, and organization development. Dr. Leupold also has over twenty-five years of experience consulting in these areas to organizations around the world, ranging from small start-up to Fortune 50 companies. He is a frequent publisher in academic journals in his field and an active member of the Society for Industrial/Organizational Psychologists and American Psychological Society.

How to Cite
Stangej, O., Minelgaite, I., & Leupold, C. (2020). Contouring Sustainability: Cultural Configurations of Nordic Firms. Management:Journal Of Sustainable Business And Management Solutions In Emerging Economies, 25(3), 65-73. doi:10.7595/management.fon.2020.0015