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Strategy, Finance & Organization

Findings & Insights: COVID-19 Action Study

How Swedish-American corporations and entrepreneurs are coping with and adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic.


In early 2020, Applied Value and the Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce in New York embarked on a study looking to gain useful insight and guidance on the role of cultural differences as pertains to management, organizational styles and decision making for businesses active in and between the shores of Sweden and the United States. 

We sought to obtain answers to how Swedish-American businesses are adapting and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic by conducting a study of both quantitative and qualitative nature. First, respondents submitted answers to an in-depth questionnaire, sent to the entire SACCNY network, including questions encompassing the scope of organizations’ need to make structural and operational adjustments, most pressing and difficult challenges, ability to outlast length and depth of the crisis, and more. Additionally, over 20% of participants later partook in in-depth interviews. Survey results and interviews have been synthesized and placed into context, broken into eight insights. 

The COVID-19 pandemic is still in its most infantile and early stage as this study is being conducted and published, but where the fundamental effects are felt across the board. In certain cases so deep and far reaching as to be perceived as insurmountable, for others, presenting new opportunity, for most, business thought of “as usual”, never quite the same. It is our hope this compilation of both anecdotal and surveyed feedback will help heighten understanding and insight into how the early ramifications of this disruption are affecting the Swedish-American segment of the international business community and serve as a tool for both better understand the current, as well as prepare for the future.  

As this stage of the study concludes, the first eight weeks of business interruption and slow down are showing its effects, and all signs clearly point to this being only the beginning. The long-term economic and GDP ramifications are the focus of much modeling, but certainly remain hard to fully quantify, as do related downward pressure on corporate bottom lines. 

Beyond the scope of this particular study, we ask ourselves – and will hope to continue revisiting with respondents – the following: How does the Swedish versus U.S. response model affect how businesses are reacting and retooling on both sides of the Atlantic? How is it different than that of other international or domestic actors? What lessons can be learned for a broader audience and group of businesses now and in the future?

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