Icelanders are proud of their Viking heritage, their independent spirit, and their language that is difficult for outsiders to pronounce, let alone speak. They are direct in their communication to the point outsiders may think they are rude. However, Cultural Detective Iceland will help you learn that not being direct is considered dishonest in this culture that values honesty, accountability, independence, and friendship. By nature, Icelanders are laid-back and open-minded, and keeping one’s word tends to carry the same weight as legal and contractual arrangements.

Iceland’s economy is highly export-driven. Traditionally, fish and fish products have been the main exports, yet today, Iceland also exports a whole range of products and services including medical products, diagnostic technology, medical software, computer gaming software, geothermal and hydroelectric energy know-how, and bottled water. Cultural Detective Iceland explores some of the underlying values that influence business interaction in the Icelandic context.

Cultural Detective Iceland contains the following stories and critical incidents:

  • It’s Not Part of My Job:

    The newly arrived Icelandic operations manager of a Danish company is surprised at the response to his request for help unloading a van at the end of the day.

  • Meeting the Family:

    A young Polish immigrant meets his Icelandic girlfriend’s family for the first time.

  • Scheduling a Time to Talk:

    A US American woman is confused by Icelandic flexibility toward time.

  • Closing the Deal:

    The Icelandic software team is surprised at a Spanish customer’s reaction to the delivered product.

  • Reprimand at Work:

    A long-term employee from the Philippines, working for an Icelandic manufacturing firm, quits his job after being publically reprimanded.

  • Delivery Dates:

    An Icelandic director of research travels to India to find out what is delaying completion of assigned research projects.

  • Power of Meetings, The:

    A newly acquired French subsidiary is not pleased with the decision of the Icelandic company to implement new software.

Cultural Detective Iceland is authored by Erla S. Kristjánsdóttir, Thorunn Bjarnadottir and Dianne Hofner Saphiere.

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