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Leadership in times of Covid-19

This research project investigates the experiences of leading and managing organizations during the corona virus pandemic, and the societal circumstances that follows in the attempts to limit the spread of the disease. The project follows a number of managers operating in different sectors and countries and documents their experiences in real time.

Business leaders have in the last months faced a unique crisis, as the coronavirus spreads across the world. This has dramatically changed the terms under which businesses and organizations organize their work and their employees, and the expectations and demands these have on leadership. To an unseen extent people are working from home and travels are banned. At the same time the world economy has slowed down, approaching depression and there is great uncertainty regarding the future.

As an integrate part of the research project, a survey is conducted, which offers an in-depth, real-time investigation of how Covid-19 effects the leadership and management of everyday work.

The project addresses the following questions: 

  • What are the experiences of leaders and managers of the current situation? 
  • What changes to everyday work and organizing has come as a result to the corona crisis? 
  • How are norms and ideas about leadership during the crisis framed, expressed and translated into organizational practices in companies and organizations? 
  • What are the internal and external demands and triggers managers respond to? What challenges are identified as a result of these, and how are they prioritized?

In order to capture the development over time the project studies the practices of managers through a series of interviews. The study will be carried out as a longitudinal real-time study (1-2 years), using a multi-method approach (i.e. a mix of data-collection methods: conversational data, interviews, observations (shadowing), document analysis, etc.).


Research team

Dr Pernilla Petrelius Karlberg

Professor Ingalill Holmberg

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