Working with Norwegians

Would you ever play chess without knowing the rules? Working in Norway without awareness of the cultural codes might feel just like that - and cause unexpected misunderstandings, frustration and anxiety… This is why UiO recommends its non-Norwegian staff to take part in the cultural training course “Working with Norwegians”.

Would you ever play chess without knowing the rules?



This seminar will give you a practical insight of what is expected in Norway – in a business and social setting. You will learn both the formal code of conduct and the unwritten rules of working in Norway. The Norwegian workplace culture has important elements that are not found in most other western countries, and this may cause misunderstandings and frustration. The seminar is suitable for all international employees who grew up outside Scandinavia, whether you have just arrived in Norway or if you have been here for some time.

The goal of the course is to:

  • Build a bridge between cultures
  • Learn what is special about Norwegian culture
  • Make you more confident on how to behave in Norway
  • Reduce misunderstandings and communication issues


The course explains how Norwegians think and act in different situations, both at the university, in a business setting and at home. It highlights typical scenarios in which cultural differences come to the surface, and you will learn what Norwegians expect from you.

The course will cover the following topics:

  • Introduction and a quick glance at the Norwegian lifestyle
  • Major cultural traits of the Norwegian workplace culture
  • Scenarios from the workplace where the cultural differences may typically be an issue:
    Discussion in the group for reflection
    Suggested good solutions
    Explanation on what is considered acceptable behaviour in Norway
  • Socializing in Norway, e.g.:
    How to make friends in Norway, visiting Norwegians at home, party culture

Target group

International researchers and staff at UiO who have recently arrived in Norway.

Number of participants

Maximum 22

Course fee

The course is offered free of charge to UiO employees.
Included in the training is a light meal (pizza served app 17:00).

Course leader

Karin Ellis, trainer in "Working with Norwegians", copyright: Karin Ellis

Karin Ellis
CEO of Ellis Culture and Consulting (

Karin  has several years’ experience in running courses both for foreigners working with Norwegians, and for Norwegians working with persons from other cultures.

Before becoming a trainer, Karin worked in international companies for many years. Her trainings are thus based on practical experience from diverse environments.


Registration form (online)

Feedback from previous participants


    "As soon as I got a feel for the agenda, I was completely convinced I had made the right choice. It was the single best thing I did since I moved to Norway. The whole course was one series of ‘lightbulb moments’ one after another explaining things I had missed, misunderstood and otherwise just didn’t ‘get.’  If you have a chance to take the course, I’d highly recommend it!”       

    Jennifer Tierney Sveigdalen, Oslo


    “Thank you very much!  The depth of understanding I now have has already in just a few hours eased an awful lot of pent up frustration from my soul! It may sound obvious, but believe me, having someone from the inside explain this in such an in depth, yet easily relatable manner is worth gold!I would recommend all non-Norwegians working in Norway to attend this course.”         

    Georgia White, Bergen


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Published Apr. 27, 2016 11:02 AM - Last modified Sep. 21, 2016 2:01 PM