Covid-19 - Infecting International business relationships? : A qualitative study of how Swedish firm’s international business relationships are affected by the Covid-19 crisis

University essay from Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för marknadsföring (MF); Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för marknadsföring (MF)

Abstract: In the first half of the year 2020 the Coronavirus has, and still does as this thesis is being written, had an unpresidential impact on the world. In Sweden there are less restrictions than in some countries, but for Swedish firms with a high international presence in their operations, the challenges are still extensive. The situation caused by the Coronavirus pandemic is unique in both social sense and a business perspective. Our thesis is to fill the research gap that has been created in terms of how the business relationships are being affected by the impact of the virus. To conduct this thesis, the research was done during the crisis caused by the Coronavirus in order to capture the wanted effects it had. Choosing a qualitative study as the research method, with an abductive approach, the thesis is able to capture a deeper understanding of the studied firms’ relationships and what effects they experienced. The literature reviewed on this thesis helped us gain a better understanding of business relationships and what effects it can experience. With chosen theories a conceptual framework was established to connect the impact of the Coronavirus to how it affects the examined business relationships. This framework was used as a guide through the gathered empirical data. These empirical findings are highlighted and displayed in the empirical chapter and then analyzed in the following after. In the analysis chapter similarities and differences are discussed of the gathered empirical data with the conceptual theoretical framework as a frame. The last chapter, the conclusion of the analysis and answering the research questions followed by implications, limitations and further research suggestions on the subject. The findings of this study resulted in a deeper understanding, and the importance of, that communication between stakeholders intensifies during a time of uncertainty. The study also made it clear that nurturing a business relationship prior to a crisis may have effects to the relationship during the crisis.

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