Business and coronavirus:
Our real-time documenting project continues

Since March 2020, the Centre for Business History has been running the project “Business history and COVID-19” which documents how the COVID-19 crisis has affected the Swedish business. This is a status report for the project, in February 2021, almost a year into it.

Since March 2020, the Centre for Business History has been running the project “Business History and COVID-19”, which documents how the COVID-19 crisis has affected Swedish business. The documentation consists of three parts: surveys, interviews, and media compilation, and all this material will later be made available for research. The ambition is that the material can be used by researchers from a variety of disciplines, perspectives, and questions about the effects of the coronavirus crisis on the Swedish trade and industry.

Thematically the project documents five areas:

  1. How the actual business of various companies has been affected
  2. How companies have changed their organization and how they work.
  3. How lasting the changes brought by the crisis are expected to be.
  4. How government and public support has worked and been received.
  5. What has media reporting looked like and how it has changed.

Here is an account of what we have done so far in the various parts of the project.


During spring and autumn 2020, five surveys were sent out, with a response rate of slightly over 100 companies each time. More surveys will be sent out during spring 2021. The surveys ask questions pertaining to project’s five thematic issues, resulting in quantitative data that can be compared across various points of the crisis. Through the questionnaire’s additional free text-answers, it is possible to deepen and qualitatively interpret the companies’ perceptions during various times through-out the crisis.


During autumn of 2020, 25 interviews were conducted with representatives of Swedish companies and business sector organizations. Another 25 interviews will take place during spring 2021. The interviews are based on the thematic issues above but also provide space for the interviewees to expand on their answers and thoughts about the coronavirus crisis. In preparation for many of the interviews, we summarized in memo-form previous statements from the company or manager about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. These pm briefs will be archived and made available together with the interviews.

Do you want to participate in our coronavirus documentation? Read more here.

Media compilation

The media compilation covers a large selection of daily media reporting on business and the coronavirus crisis from 16 January 2020 onwards. The compilation is updated daily and will be themed at a later stage of the project.

As we write this in February 2021, the documentation of the consequences of the coronavirus crisis for the business community has been going on for almost a year, but it is not yet finished. It is important to cover all phases of the ongoing crisis, and we are therefore intent to continue the documentation work for as long as the coronavirus crisis continues. In the meantime, we are summarizing pieces of our preliminary observations and expect to finally present the project’s results in the form of a seminar and a report. Hopefully the material collected by the project will be valuable for future research.

The documentation project “Business and the coronavirus” is carried out by the research secretariat of the Centre for Business History.
Learn more about our research secretariat.