Sweden is a country which traditionally has been using a stakeholder oriented mode of enterprise governance. Since the middle of the 1990's the U.S. shareholder concept has been more prevalent and the Swedish economy is transforming (Borglund 2009).
This paper aims to give an more thorough understanding of the changes of Swedish governance based on an empirical study from Stockholm based oil tanker companies (Argonaut, ICB, Frontline, Nordström & Thulin) in the Swedish shipping industry from 1980 to today. The empirical study was conducted in Sweden in 2008-2009. It consists of around 90 in-depth interviews with people in the Stockholm shipping companies, as well as people from the Swedish state, journalists, labour union representatives, who have been involved in the shipping business conducted from Stockholm from 1980 and onwards.
In the Swedish shipping industry, especially in the Stockholm based companies, there was a strong focus on outsourcing and turning to stock markets for capital. These shipping companies also showed a strong owner orientation and might be seen as one of the first examples of shareholder capitalism in the Swedish context. All the companies studied had by the year 2000 been acquired by foreign interests, which shows that the governance approach was not sustainable (from the point of view of the Swedish shipping industry). In the paper I will discuss what can be learned with respect to homogenization of Swedish governance and the implications of this for other countries.