Hidden champions in Norway : a study of the existence and characteristics of hidden champions in the region of Hordaland in Norway
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- Master Thesis 
Previous research has shown that some small to medium sized niche companies are global world market leaders in their respective field, and that they have high share of export. Many of these companies have a low public profile and have therefore been called “hidden champions”. The purpose of this study was to see if it was possible to identify Norwegian hidden champions in the region of Hordaland, and to analyze them in order to further understand the successful strategy of hidden champions. By interviewing seven business leaders of potential hidden champions using a questionnaire from earlier studies in Germany, several success factors were found together with related underlying variables. All the participating companies were identified as hidden champions as defined by the criteria of Simon (2009). Among the participating companies all of the seven of the eight success factors as described by Simon (2009) were found in the sample, with an average between 3 and 4 success factors per company. The success factors that were most prominent were “Closeness to customers”, “Innovation”, “Focus” and “High employee performance”. Most of the underlying variables identified did not give any unexpected results as they were in accordance with normal strategic behavior. The implications of this are that instead of searching for significant factors individually, researchers should investigate the interaction between the success factors and the underlying variables. In other results it was found that none of the Norwegian hidden champions identified in this study deliberately tried to hold a low public profile, but rather reported they had no need to be known outside of their industry. This implies that the “veil of secrecy” reported by Simon (2009, p.13 - 14) is not deliberate. Hidden champions have been identified in Hordaland in different industries. Their integrated strategy and relative large export shares should make them very interesting for researchers, policy makers and other niche companies that can be potential hidden champions.