Business in today's world has become
a universal concern that is discussed on many different arenas. Because
business is often done in complex, cross-cultural settings, where misunderstandings
are likely to occur, it is important for businesspeople today to understand
this global ideological discourse concerning what business is, how business
should be done, how a business person ought to dress, speak and behave.
Since the business discourse has a powerful influence on global affairs,
these misunderstandings often have crucial impact on local conditions.
Businesspeople working in cross-cultural environments will be challenged
by different ideas of business as well as different practices of business.
With business going global, a common understanding or idea of the ground
rules of business is important to the actors in order to simplify and
understand their jobs. In cross-cultural cooperation there is often
disagreement of what the ground rules consist of even when the businesspeople
agree among themselves that what they want to do is the same thing;
namely Western business.
After the changes in 1989 and the
early 1990s Eastern Europe and the Baltic States became part of the
global business sphere. The area was considered a promising market,
and forty thousand Western European companies opened up offices in Eastern
Europe from 1989 to 1995 (Thorheim 1995: 12). Western businesspeople
who came to Eastern Europe were seen as carriers of the Western ideology
of business. They had a business know how, which was wanted by Eastern
European businesspeople. At the same time many of the Western businesspeople
saw their business activities not only as a means of making money or
a profession, but also as part of an ideological system. For many of
these businesspeople business all of a sudden had become ideology.
The majority of foreign business
involvement in Estonian comes from Finland, Sweden and Denmark, but
businesses from Germany, Norway and the USA are also represented. When
Estonia first opened up for Western businesses there was a tremendous
sense of expectation and optimism on the Estonian side. The Estonians
were eager to learn and wanted to do business in the Western way as
opposed to the Soviet or Russian way. Private business was even considered
to be part of the nation building, as the Estonian governments focused
heavily on market reforms that would accommodate private business. However,
by the mid 1990s this optimism had been reduced drastically. By then
Estonian businesspeople had developed a more realistic view of Western
business, and they did not automatically trust foreign businesspeople.
The Estonian businesspeople who initially had been so eager to learn
from the Western businesspeople who flooded into their country had started
to question whether some of the foreign businesspeople actually knew
how to do proper Western business.
During my fieldwork in Tallinn in
Estonia in 1996 I studied ways of doing business in 12 small Norwegian-Estonian
companies with Norwegian Presidents or Directors. I also had access
to the wider Western business environment in Tallinn at the time. My
two main concerns were the practical day-to-day business cooperation
between Norwegian and Estonian businesspeople and the businesspeople's
ideas and definitions of their role in the transformation process. Because
of the actors' different business backgrounds and the ongoing transformation
of the Estonian society this was a setting where the daily task of doing
business was discussed both on the practical and on the ideological
In this presentation I will discuss
how Estonian and Norwegian businesspeople viewed business differently,
at the same time as both parties set out to do Western business, and
in many cases were convinced that they were the ones who knew how to
do proper Western business. In order to understand the different ideas
and practices of business I will discuss the different Norwegian and
Estonian motivations for doing business in Tallinn, and look at how
the Norwegians often saw themselves as advocates for Western business
and capitalism, and how the Estonians after a while doubted that the
Norwegians could be automatically trusted as role models for what they
wanted modern business to be. The practical situation did not always
correspond with the businesspeople's idea of business, and I will give
an example of how these different approaches to business and different
business experiences were reflected in the practical cooperation.
The opening up of Eastern Europe
has lead to an export of Western ideology such as Western business ideology.
Ideology and ideals are often hard to define and pin point, especially
when they are not presented as for example political doctrines. Before
we can discuss Norwegian and Estonian ideas of business we need to take
a closer look at what Western business ideology actually consists of.
Is it just something that is created through practice on location, or
are there some common denominators for modern business? I will argue
that business today is an established discursive object, which is part
of our reality, while at the same time still being debated. I will in
the following attempt to briefly describe some of the general and most
common traits that define business and businesspeople within this discourse.
These traits or this model of business may be seen as an ideal, which
businesspeople everywhere relate to.
The Dutch scholar and humanist Erasmus
Rotterdamus described businesspeople in the following way in the fifteenth
"The most foolish and vulgar people
who exist are businesspeople. They are involved in the most pitiful
and degrading craft one can imagine, and besides that they do it in
the most shameless way; even though they lie, take false oaths, steal,
swindle and always try to cheat on other people, they always force
their way in order to be the first, that is why they always have their
hands full of gold." (in: Tikkanen 1987:59 - my translation from Norwegian).
This negative quote might sound
disrespectful, but in its own way it describes important aspects of
business even today.
The most striking aspect of business
and the main aim of business and businesspeople is, as Rotterdamus put
it, to "...have their hands full of gold". Profit, to make more money
than you have invested, is the superior goal of all business. But profit
is not a goal that can ever be achieved. Once profit has been "made",
the ideal businessperson does not rest contented, but immediately looks
around for opportunities for new investments. It was the search for
profit that made the Norwegian businesspeople invest in Tallinn and
Estonia. Tallinn was considered to be a new market with new possibilities
and risks. My material shows that many Norwegian businesspeople came
to Tallinn more or less by chance, but no one would even have considered
Tallinn if they had not viewed the business opportunities as profitable.
As Tallinn was seen as a profitable and high-risk market, it may have
been particularly attractive to businesspeople who were trying to start
the first turn on a profit spiral, and not only to established firms
which just wanted to maximize their surplus.
But business, as a global discursive
object, is more than the mere search for profit. The ideal businessperson
is also a responsible agent. Max Weber, in his classical discussion
of "The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism", described the
connection between the search for profit and the emphasis on responsibility,
as part of the foundation for the development of capitalistic society.
Weber emphasizes that maintaining a cycle of profit is a long-term activity,
which is impossible to engage in without long-term predictability in
business relations (Weber 1981 ).
A third significant factor of business
as a discursive object apart from responsibility and profit is willingness
to take risks. Risk and profit are closely connected. Investment is
always risky, and gambling is often necessary in order to attain profit.
The general opinion among the businesspeople I spoke to is that larger
investments increase the chances for a high profit, but also for losses.
The factors of risk are seldom constant and they vary from one context
to another. Economic crime, insufficient infrastructure, red tape and
undeveloped markets are some critical external factors in Tallinn, which
Rotterdamus goes on in his description:
"...they always force their way in order to be the first". Closely connected
to risk is the entrepreneurial activity, which is likewise a distinctive
feature of the global discursive object business. The Norwegian anthropologist
Fredrik Barth describes entrepreneurial activity as maximization of
profit, experimental and speculative activity, and willingness to take
risks (Barth 1972:7-8). In order to succeed in business the ability
to be the first to exploit or create a new niche and take chances in
order to maximize profit are viewed as important. Barth also defines
entrepreneurship as the ability to exploit discrepancies between different
niches (Barth 1981). An example of this may be to move the production
in a Norwegian factory to a low cost country or to attempt to sell previously
inaccessible Western products on the Estonian market.
Yet another significant factor of
doing business that has global acceptance is the ability to create networks
and establish business contacts. Both formal and informal aspects of
networking are considered important in business. By knowing and trusting
the persons one are doing business with one can reduce the risks involved.
The possibility for informal contracts and deals also increases by having
a large network. A good and extensive network may simplify the process
of creating new business relations and the introduction of new projects
in a business environment.
Some external factors like clothing
also help us determine whether or not we are dealing with a businessperson.
When I asked businesspeople to describe businessmen and women they often
started with the dress code. One businesswoman said: "I would have to
start with the clothes. Businesspeople have to be dressed nicely and
most of them carry a briefcase". The dress code in business makes it
easy to recognize businesspeople. The Estonian interpretation of the
dress code in business is very formal, and several Norwegian businesspeople
were not taken seriously when they showed up without for example a tie.
Businesspeople covet profit. To
attain profit, they run risks and try to find new niches for entrepreneurship.
They form both formal and informal networks for themselves and the firm,
and seek to establish contacts based on responsibility and trust. I
believe that these are "common denominators" for business, and constitute
an ideological frame of reference for both Norwegian and Estonian businesspeople.
The Norwegian and Estonian businesspeople
both agreed that their task was to do Western business. They also related
to some common denominators of business, but their motivation and commitment
for doing business in Tallinn was very different. The Estonians related
to a global business ideology in their own country, whereas the Norwegians
articulated global business ideology in a place they could never be
as committed to as the native Estonians.
As mentioned above, private business
was part of a national project in Estonia. After independence in 1991
it was important for the new Estonian governments to distance the official
policies from the policies of the former Estonian Soviet Republic, and
private business enterprises and free competition was supported by official
policies. As a result, only Hong Kong had more liberal trade regulations
than Estonia in the 1990s. At the time of my fieldwork it was as if
every Estonian was starting up a business or was involved in some area
of the private business sector - or at least every young person. Estonian
businesspeople sometimes even defined themselves as competitive businesspeople
by nature. Estonian businesspeople would define business by contrast
to how things were done during Soviet times. Estonians, they would say,
fit the image of competitive and liberal-minded businesspeople perfectly.
They would emphasize the intensely competitive nature of the Estonian
national character and contrast this to the communist ideology, under
which, of course, Estonians as "natural entrepreneurs", had suffered.
The competitive nature of the Estonians was sometimes illustrated with
the Estonian proverb: "The favorite food of an Estonian is another Estonian",
meaning that if your neighbor for example buys an Audi you will not
be content with merely getting an Audi yourself, but try to be better
than him and buy a Mercedes - as it was explained to me.
Business thus had an enormous effect
on parts of the Estonian society. The 1990s was also a time when the
Estonian society was starting to be divided and forming new social strata,
and some areas of the Estonian society had very little contact or first
hand information about the world of business. But nevertheless, private
business was a major influence on the Estonian society at large and
on the Estonian nation building.
Western companies were attractive
to Estonian businesspeople as they potentially could provide easy access
to Western know how, foreign business contacts and sometimes high salaries.
The Norwegian businesspeople I
studied came to Tallinn for different reasons and had very different
backgrounds. In addition to personal motivations for doing business
in Estonia the Norwegian businesspeople were affected by the discourse
on Eastern Europe in Norwegian and Western media and the official Western
European policies towards the region.
After the changes in Eastern Europe
in 1989 it became important for the international community to influence
the development in the region in order to ensure stability. A will and
a sense of obligation from the West to change and help the East evolved.
What direction the development should take and how reforms ought to
be implemented became important issues both to the countries of the
former Eastern Block and to the surrounding world community. Privatization
was strongly recommended as a sensible policy for the countries in the
East and was implemented in all of them, although to various extents.
It was also seen as a value to quickly implement reforms involving a
high degree of privatization. The strong belief the world community
had in the success of rapid implementation of privatization in Eastern
Europe leads the political scientist John M. Howell to point out that
the Eastern countries were asked to go through with privatization to
an extent that no Western democracy has ever done. He claims that the
world had no prior experience with a privatization process like the
one about to be realized in the East in the beginning of the 1990s.
The ideology of capitalism and liberalism
seems to have become stronger in the Western world after the breakdown
of the Soviet Union. But in many ways it is an ideology that is being
implemented to its fullest extent in countries outside the Western hemisphere.
In practice every Western country is, to a greater or lesser extent,
based on the idea of the welfare state, not a totally privatized state,
and spends a large part of its gross national product on for example
health-related services to its citizens. It thus seems strange that
countries which until recently have been heavily dependent on state
services should be advised to go through with a rapid privatization
of sectors such as the postal services, hospitals, electricity and water
supply. Nevertheless, this is the procedure the IMF and the World Bank
recommend towards countries in Eastern Europe as well as in Africa,
Latin America and Indonesia.
In addition to the Western governments'
official policy towards the East, media and popular opinion stressed
the importance of the West "helping" the East with know-how derived
from the experience of living in the Western world. The "helping" attitude
was at the same time a mixture of idealism and condescension on the
Western behalf. In the business arena the Western world could offer
"help" in the form of hard currency, capital and commercial skills to
the East, which was portrayed as a place with high productivity, skilled
labor and low wages.
In the 1990s Eastern Europe and
the Baltic countries were described as a daring place and a "land of
opportunities" in Western media, and the area was often called "Wild
West in the East". The focus on the mob, corruption, violence, insecurity
on all levels, prostitution and fast money helped to mystify the East
and make it attractive and scary at the same time. In order to be successful
in the future, investments in the East were seen as essential by both
Western media and the public. With both official policy and popular
opinion emphasizing Western involvement in the region as aid and help,
the motivation for Norwegian businesspeople to go to Estonia was only
strengthened. If this was not a conscious motivation it could be utilized
as an explanation and justification for the Norwegian businesspeople
once they had arrived in Estonia.
One of the most common characteristics
of the Norwegian businesspeople I studied in Tallinn was that they belonged
to a marginal group of businesspeople in Norway. They were not what
one normally would think of as businesspeople. There was one priest,
one with a degree in philosophy, another used to be a local politician,
yet another man had been a diplomat, there was a diver, and one of the
businesspeople was a designer. But there were also Norwegian businesspeople
who had graduated from business schools. An illusion often held by Estonian
businesspeople, was that these kinds of businesspeople did not exist
in the West.
Before their arrival the Norwegian
businesspeople had rarely reflected over how their role as advocates
for Western ideology would be acted out. This was a role they became
aware of in Tallinn and especially, but not only, when things did not
work out as planned. If for example a business project failed it was
common to blame it on the Estonians who did not know how to do proper
Western business, thus implying that they as Norwegians and Western
Europeans knew how. The role as Western businesspeople helped them justify
their presence in Tallinn no matter how successful or unsuccessful their
business ventures were. They could easily see themselves as part of
the same national project as the Estonians even though their motivation
for doing this quite often was personal justification rather than a
collective effort to reshape a country.
We have so far seen that businesspeople
no matter where they come from relate to some general characteristics
of business. There exists an idea of business as one thing, even though
it might be more helpful to view business as a fluid discursive object
that is being debated and redefined in various settings all over the
world. The Norwegian and Estonian businesspeople had different practical
business experiences and different motivations and commitments for working
in Tallinn, but nevertheless shared an expectation that business should
be the same everywhere. In their practical daily cooperation the Estonian
and Norwegian business partners experienced cooperation problems that
were based on their different ways of doing business, their different
commitment to the projects and their different definitions of proper
business. When the cooperation failed or became difficult a regular
explanation was that "The Norwegians do not know how to do business"
or "Estonians are not proper businesspeople". The businesspeople were
in this way referring to business as something existing on the ideological
level outside the immediate cooperation context.
The Norwegian and Estonian way of
doing business seemed to be compatible when it came to for example management
styles and networking. Even though the Norwegians and Estonians had
different approaches to for example formality in leadership and personal
and instrumental business relationships this seemed to be differences
that could be overcome and sometimes combined in surprising and successful
ways. The running of risks and entrepreneurship in business, however,
were aspects that caused the most difficulty.
A specific form of risk that was
typically taken by Norwegian businesspeople in Tallinn may be termed
business stunts. The Norwegian business stunts can be contrasted to
the Estonian way of running risks, which I have called calculated risks.
Business stunts can be characterized
as dangerous, daring, original and flamboyant actions, which are often
performed on the spur of the moment. They offer chances of considerable
profit as the stakes are high and the projects normally require minimal
planning. Stunts may therefore be tempting for small and marginal businesses
such as the Norwegian-Estonian companies. These firms have limited financial
resources and limited human capital to plan their projects. A stunt
does not need planning and, if successful, gives profit. Business activity
in Norway can be described as predictable and routine based rather than
dangerous and daring. Tallinn can apparently offer more excitement within
business than for example Oslo, and the prospect of a place suitable
for business stunts may be one factor that attracts a certain category
of Norwegian businesspeople to Tallinn. A stunt is also an action, which
is meant to attract attention (Webster's 1989:1411). If a stunt is sufficiently
original it may pay off financially and because of the high profile
of many stunts, the success will be duly noted. A failure will be similarly
visible. All of these characteristics give stunts a flare of adventure
rather than rational business projects.
Several of the Norwegian companies
I studied were involved in business stunts. One small Norwegian company,
which had a franchise agreement with a Norwegian chain of stores, established
their business in Estonia in 1995 in order to introduce the stores in
Estonia. The 'store company' came to Tallinn more or less by accident.
One of the owners was actually challenged by a friend, who dared him
to do business in the former Soviet Union. The company established an
office in Tallinn in order to organize the running and establishment
of the stores in Estonia. Initially, the Norwegian owners assumed that
the stores in Estonia would multiply at an even higher rate than they
had in Norway. They assumed that within the first years they would have
established around 20-30 stores in Estonia. But after one year they
had only managed to set up five stores.
During the six first months of the
venture one of the Norwegian owners who was unfamiliar with the wants
and needs of Estonian consumers ordered the goods for the Estonian stores.
As a result the stores were unable to offer some goods, which were viewed
as essential for that kind of store in Estonia. The Estonian partners
in the administration of the Estonian branch of the 'store company'
were surprised that the routines for ordering goods were changed only
after a number of months and not immediately. According to them this
proved that the Norwegians needed more information prior to coming to
Estonia. The Estonian Project Manager said that:
"Everything is different here,
and our bosses had too little information about Estonia before they
This project can clearly be termed
a stunt. The planning beforehand was minimal and the Norwegian businesspeople
had very little knowledge of the particular business situation in Tallinn.
They were seeking profit, but they had not analyzed the market prior
to establishing themselves in Tallinn, looked for suitable partners
in Estonia or tried to hire Norwegians with knowledge of Estonia. The
fact that the company had not even tried to obtain any knowledge of
Estonia seems surprising. The Norwegian representative of the owners
expressed this explicitly by saying:
"The only thing that matters is
that you know your job as for example an economist and that you are
qualified for this job. It is hard to know how to prepare."
The lack of information about Estonia
was a common characteristic of the Norwegian companies in Tallinn. One
explanation for this was that many of the businesspeople did not have
time to plan their projects prior to their arrival in Tallinn, as they
decided on how and where to do business in the nick of time. Another
reason may be that the Norwegian businesspeople felt secure that they
would know how to do business in Tallinn. Indeed, if, as the global
ideology of business claims, business is the "same" everywhere, then
it is sufficient to "know one's job", as the representative of the owners
of the above case claimed. Such beliefs cannot be attributed to mere
ignorance on the Norwegians' part. After all, Estonia was changing towards
a capitalistic society and Estonians' experience of commercial business
was limited. Some of the Norwegian businesspeople may thus have arrived
in Tallinn believing that their knowledge as Westerners would pull them
The Estonian Project Manager of
the 'store company' pointed out that since Estonia is an unstable society
you need to know what sorts of risks you take. Estonians, he said, take
risks in a different manner than Norwegians. He said:
"We calculate our actions. After
a thorough evaluation of the situation we act, and then we may run
seemingly bigger risks than the Westerners".
He gave me an example from his own
experience to exemplify this statement: "Normally, goods ordered by
our company are paid for after delivery, and especially if they come
from Russia. One of our regular suppliers in Russia was having difficulties
paying salary to their workers and needed money to be able to transport
the goods to Estonia. They promised us a considerable discount on the
delivery if we were willing to pay up-front. I contacted the Norwegian
owners, who were doubtful at first. They were persuaded only after I
agreed to vouch for the money personally. I was certain that we would
receive the goods, as I trusted the company and knew that they were
dependent on maintaining a good relationship with our company in order
to stay comfortably in business". I asked the Estonian Project Manager
if he managed to sleep at night, knowing that he was personally responsible
for a big amount of money. "If you borrow ten thousand dollars in a
bank, you don't sleep at night. If the bank lends you one million dollars,
they don't sleep at night", was his answer. The goods were, as the Project
Manager had predicted, delivered to Estonia right after the money was
transferred to the Russian company.
The above situation may seem like
a dangerous risk for the Estonian Project Manager to take, and we might
be tempted to call it a stunt. The Estonian seemed to be risking his
reputation as a trustworthy businessperson as well as money. Closer
investigation reveals that there are important differences between the
risks taken by the Norwegians and the Estonians. The Estonian businessman
claimed that he knew what he was doing, that he had knowledge about
his partners, and could trust their relationship to his company because
his experience with their business partners had taught him to trust
them. His actions may seem risky, but they were in fact calculated.
At the same time as he stressed the fact that his action was a risk,
he also added that he knew what he was doing. He wanted to describe
himself as a brave businessperson who took risks at the same time as
he had an overview of his business situation. His actions were consequently
not risky to him, but similar behavior would have been to other businesspeople,
such as the Norwegians, who did not know the setting they were operating
within. The description the Estonian businessman gave of himself corresponded
to the global ideology of business, consisting of responsible, but risky,
business actions. The description was probably meant to make me see
him in a certain way. He guided my impressions of him, so that I would
consider him a successful businessman operating according to the global
Both the Estonian and the Norwegian
businesspeople acknowledged that risk was an important factor of doing
business. The examples above have illustrated that although they agreed
on the importance of risk, they articulated the global ideology of risk
in different local ways. The Norwegians' stunts may be a result of their
lack of knowledge of the situation. But what was striking was not so
much the lack of knowledge in itself, but the fact that the Norwegians
did not try to improve their knowledge of the Estonian context. This
is indeed paradoxical. For on the one hand, the Norwegians seemed to
assume that their experience of doing business in Norway would be sufficient
background for doing business successfully in Tallinn. But on the other
hand one of the reasons why they were attracted to Estonia was the Western
image of Eastern Europe as a place that was very different from Norway,
because it was a more risky place to do business. The fact that these
Norwegian businesspeople sought a business setting, which was different
from Norway, implied that they desired changes. They wanted a fresh
start and something new, but did not want business in itself to change.
In practice, however, they seemed convinced that business is the same
everywhere and that they knew how to do business. The Norwegians were
marginally committed in Tallinn, in the sense that if they took a risk,
they mostly risked their own reputation and their own personal profit.
If they failed they had a chance to move on or return to Norway where
almost no one would be familiar with their mistakes.
The Estonians, on the other hand,
had to be more careful as they might risk their reputation in the city
where they were going to keep doing business maybe for the rest of their
lives. They knew the Estonian situation better than the Norwegians and
were therefore able to avoid needless risks far better, as the example
of the Estonian "doing business" with Russians seems to show. More fundamentally
still, they were strongly committed to building a local national identity
at the same time as they were doing business and thus the results of
their actions mattered in the society as a whole. Estonians are committed
to their business because they need to uphold a reputation in Tallinn
as good businesspeople. But they are also strongly committed to the
building of the Estonian nation in which commercial business plays an
important role. The Norwegians on the other hand, normally spend a limited
time in Tallinn and their agendas for doing business are mostly personal,
although they were influenced by the general Western attitudes towards
Eastern Europe. In a way they were more global in their orientation
as Tallinn was just another place to do business in the global world
of business. These differences in commitments resulted in different
ways of practicing business. It was important for the Estonians to calculate
their risks, so that they did not fail, whereas the Norwegian businesspeople
could afford to take risks without considering the consequences to the
same degree as the Estonians.
The Norwegian and Estonian commitment
to the business activity was different, and this affected their attitudes
towards business. The Norwegian businesspeople were, in many ways, deterritorialized
as they were doing business in a foreign business environment. Consequently,
they sometimes became more dependent on commitment to the global ideology
of business instead of the locality of their business activities. As
the global business ideology is an abstract set of rules for how to
do business, the Norwegians had to transform the ideology into concrete
and specific terms. This was done by an implicit "Norwegianization"
of the business ideology. They defined business according to their local
Norwegian standards, and claimed these standards to be "Western" and
global standards of business. The Estonians, on the other hand, were
much more committed to the locality in which they were doing business.
They viewed their business activity as an important part of the rebuilding
of the Estonian nation. Business was considered to represent the opposite
of the Soviet system. Consequently, Estonian businesspeople termed their
local practices and interpretations of business as "Western" and global.
I have throughout this presentation
examined how business as one part of Western ideology and Western practice
was exported to Estonia by Norwegian businesspeople. It is maybe surprising
that Norwegian businesspeople could be viewed as Western businesspeople
in the first place as Norway is far from international business centers
that may be said to lie somewhere in Germany or the United States. We
have also seen that these specific Norwegian businesspeople were marginal
even in Norway. But it was difficult for Estonians in the early 1990s
to recognize genuine foreign businesspeople. It was easy for a businessperson
to come off as serious just by wearing a smart suit and flashing his
business card. After a while Estonians became more experienced in their
judgment of Western businesspeople.
Western ideologies and practices
are not only exported by multinational companies, the IMF or the European
Bank of Reconstruction and Development, but also by marginal Norwegian
businesspeople. As mentioned above, forty thousand Western companies
were established in Eastern Europe from 1989 to 1995. I am sure that
every single one of these forty thousand companies have redefined Western
business and discussed business ideology and practice several times.
By looking at how for example Western business is being practiced in
Eastern Europe we get a chance to question and shed new light on the
concept of Western business. In Western Europe and the USA the Western
ideologies such as business are quite often taken for granted. This
is especially the case after 9.11 when it is even a little suspect to
question the idea of Western capitalism (see Samtiden p. 38). The Norwegian
businesspeople in Tallinn, however, were not allowed to take business
for granted as they were forced to question their own ideas and practices
in their daily cooperation with Estonian businesspeople.