When Janteloven culture meets the consulting business

By Jennifer Kwong

Volunteering at Ridderrennet — — a Norwegian parasports event for the visually and physically impaired. I’m on the far left.

The Janteloven (or the Law of Jante) is a set of unspoken rules governing social interactions in Scandinavian society. In its simplest form, it means “You are no better than anyone”. Put into social reality, the law dictates that community must be prioritized over the individual, and the individual must not be overtly proud about their accomplishments.

Hong Kong, on the other hand, lies on the other end of the spectrum. Aside from the value of “humility” as found in traditional Confucianism, modern Hong Kong indeed embraces elitism like no other society, having flourished on a strong common pursuit for status and prestige.

As part of the Hong Kong branch of a global organization that aims to maximize social impact, how may 180DC at HKU benefit from a reconciliation of both philosophies? On one hand, the central thought of 180DC is reflective of the Nordic culture of “leaving no one behind” — — students, by becoming consultants, are able to show they’re no less than professionals in driving social change, as they help non-profits to maximize social benefit. On the other hand, the organization invites friendly competition within its different teams and branches and actively recognizes its talents, thus inspiring devotion and accelerating personal growth. As thus, the egalitarian Nordic thought and Hong Kong’s elitism meet at just the right place in 180DC.

As someone with no business background stepping into a world that is known for intense competitiveness, I can be easily intimidated and thus lose my sense of purpose. Yet by reminding myself of what it really means to be a member of the special group that is 180DC, it becomes no longer difficult to keep my feet on the ground to advance steadily, and my heart always longing for the wellbeing of the larger society.

This article is the second of our new series that gives our consultants the voice to share social issues that they are most passionate about. Follow our LinkedIn for more updates!

The HKU branch of the world’s largest student-led consultancy