Country Culture: United States vs. Denmark


Imagine you’ve graduated, have been working (in the U.S.) in professional positions for several years, and you’ve just been presented with an opportunity to work internationally (in a country of your choice). The opportunity would be a positive career move, not just in the short-term but also potentially the long-term. 


In the event that I were to have the opportunity to select a country to relocate to, Denmark would be my preferred choice. Upon comparing Denmark and my current country using Hofstede’s cultural dimensions, I have discovered that they are relatively similar (within a 20-point range) in most categories, with a few exceptions that warrant further discussion.

In the Power Distance category, which is a measure of the extent to which individuals in a society accept and expect power inequalities, Denmark has a relatively low score of 18, while the United States scores 40. In Denmark, employees are granted autonomy and coached, which means that they are given the freedom to make decisions and are guided by their superiors. This approach is in contrast to the US, where managers and superiors rely on individuals and teams for their expertise.

Communication styles also differ between the two countries. In the US, communication is informal, direct, and participative, which means that people are encouraged to speak their minds and participate in discussions. In Denmark, communication is also informal, but people work on a first-name basis, which reflects the country’s egalitarian culture.

Overall, these differences in the Power Distance category and communication styles reflect the unique cultural values and attitudes of each country. Understanding these differences is essential for individuals and businesses that operate in both countries to navigate cultural differences and work effectively with people from different backgrounds.

Within the category of Motivation towards Achievement and Success, a high score denotes a society that is driven by competition, achievement, and success, with success being defined by the winner or the best in the field. Conversely, a low score indicates that the dominant values in society are centered around caring for others and quality of life.

The United States has been assigned a score of 62 in the category under consideration. The American society is characterized by its decisiveness and a value system that is instilled in individuals from their school years and continues to shape their organizational lives. The American populace is highly competitive, and this trait is reflected in their typical behavioral patterns. Americans are more inclined to exhibit their motivation for individual achievement and success in a forthright manner. Furthermore, Americans tend to be more open about their successes and are known to discuss them freely.

Denmark has been assigned a low score of 16 in this category, indicating that the prevailing values in Danish society are centered around caring for others and prioritizing quality of life. The Danish people place great importance on maintaining a healthy work-life balance and ensuring inclusivity for all members of society. In this context, decision-making is achieved through active participation, and individuals place a high value on equality, solidarity, and quality in their professional lives. This consensus-driven society is one in which success is measured by the quality of life, and standing out from the crowd is not considered a desirable trait.

The final category to be compared is that of Uncertainty Avoidance. This category concerns the manner in which a society grapples with the reality that the future is inherently unknowable. Specifically, it raises the question of whether we should attempt to exert control over the future or simply allow it to unfold. This inherent ambiguity can engender anxiety, and different cultures have developed distinct strategies for managing it.

It’s interesting to note that Denmark scores low on the need for structure and predictability in their work life, with a score of 23. This suggests that Danes are comfortable with plans changing suddenly and are naturally curious, which is encouraged from a young age. This combination of individualism and curiosity is what drives Denmark’s reputation for innovation and design.

The United States ranks just below average at 46 in terms of its level of acceptance for new ideas, innovative products, and a willingness to embrace novelty, whether it pertains to technology, business practices, or food. Americans tend to exhibit a greater degree of tolerance for ideas or opinions from anyone and allow for the freedom of expression. However, they do not require a plethora of rules and regulations and are less emotionally expressive than other countries that score higher in this regard.

Upon careful review of the readings, outline, and lectures, I have identified several additional factors that would require consideration before deciding whether to pursue this opportunity. These factors include the ease of relocation and the pay scale. As a single adult, there are few considerations that would require attention. However, I would be more inclined to accept the offer if I could bring my dogs with me without having to undergo an extensive quarantine process and if the salary increase was substantial. I am generally a flexible individual and open to new experiences, both personally and professionally.


The Culture Factor Group. (n.d). Country Comparison Tool. The Country Factor Group.

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