Introduction

Have you got what it takes?
Have you got what it takes?
Flickr cc Robert Couse-Baker

What does a day like a Swedish workplace look like? And how would you handle it?

Swedes love rules – and there are plenty of unwritten rules as well, for instance that everyone must “fika” (sit down, have a coffee and chit-chat). But what can and can’t you talk about at the fika-bord? And what is absolutely forbidden to do at work?

Task



Flickr cc (rinse)

In this quest, you have to manage a day at work – preferably unharmed in body as well as mind!

Do all exercises, and watch the videos about how things can go wrong in a workplace. Work in pairs or small groups.

If you wish, present exercises 2 and 3 for the rest of the class!

Process

Exercise 1 - Morgonfika (and afternoon fika, aka three-fika)

Here you will find out what fika is, what it means to the Swedes and how to do it in order not to break any important, unwritten rules.

Exercise 2 - Get to know a Swedish Icon

The most remarkable with Swedes (think many non-Swedes) is that Swedes do not think they are remarkable at all. They think they are only ordinary. That they do nothing special. They are just common, non-remarkable people.

Of course, nothing can be more wrong. There are so many Swedes that stand out in one way and the other. In this exercise, you will get to know a Swedish Icon, and present him or her for the rest of the class. An example of a presentation is shown in the “Icon: Pippi” document. A list of icons is available to choose from – if you find one on your own, it's also fine.

Exercise 3 - Unwritten Rules

Talk to people in the street: What is the most forbidden thing to do at work? Which one is the worst – flirting with the boss or pinch a pencil?

What unwritten rules do the people you talk to have at their workplace? Present the results in class and compare and discuss your findings.

 

Conclusion

Brilliant!

Now you've understood everything to survive for a day or maybe even two days at work without making a fool of yourself. What is more, you will not put others in awkward positions – and you will not feel uncomfortable yourself.

Congratulations! You might be just “lagom” fine :-) over time!

Evaluation

  • Understand the difference between formal and non-formal rules
  • Understand what causes cultural crashes, and how to avoid them

Resources

Links

Videos


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