IMM Corona research

There is a lot of Corona virus research going on. IMM will probably not invent the most effective vaccine or treatment – but a broad specter of the department’s research circles around other serious challenges that the new virus has infected society, business and people with. Here is a sample of the new Corona-related insights that we develop:

Livingroom fitness

Contact: Dorthe Brogaard Kristensen,

The lockdown has underlined how much work out and fitness means to a lot of people. The Digital FitnessCulture project, that is part of the Human Health commitment at SDU, has taken a ‘Corona U-turn’ and is now also investigating the new alternatives – not least digital ones – that has emerged, because people can no longer visit the fitness center. And they are about to re-construct fitness as an industry and as body-culture.
The focus of the project has therefore expanded to develop insights in what work out means to people in a critical situation as e.g. COVID-19, and how crisis and insecurity effect people’s activities and wellbeing.


The digitalized parent-school relation

Contact: Anna Schneider-Kamp,

The project "Risk, Emotions and Trust in Times of Health Crisis: The impact of digitalisation on the parent-teacher relationship during the first re-opening phase of the COVID-19 pandemic in Denmark" collects data on how parents with young children (classes 0-5) were and are experiencing the pandemic crisis, the digitalization of interaction, and how this has affected their relationships with teachers.
The project was one of the 13 projects out of 127 funded by the VELUX Foundations COVID-19 Initiative.


Leadership during a Corona-crisis?

Contact: Marian van Bakel,

This research project focuses on HRM and investigates how Danish SMEs handles Human Ressource Management and work environment during the Corona-crisis.
The project collects data via a questionnaire to get an idea of what these companies do in practice to tackle the challenges.


WORK 2020

Contact: Stephan Billinger,

The project examines how organizations and their employees cope with the lockdown. Anecdotal evidence suggests that many people are currently experiencing completely new ways of doing their job. At the same time, many firms and the public administration struggle to accommodate the changing governmental requirements while being operational and financially stable. Interestingly, there has been no organized examination of how the lockdown has systematically impacted how work is carried out and whether firms have deployed organizational measures to mitigate the impact of the lockdown. This research project addresses this gap by examining in private firms and the public administration the observable changes to work practices caused by the lockdown. While there are good reasons to assume that the lockdown, which is unprecedented in modern times, has radically changed many work practices, little is known about any systematical patterns in such changes and existing theories provide limited insights. Thus, this project seeks to broaden our understanding of organizational changes, at the individual and firm-level, by systematically collecting data on the effects of the lockdown.


China and Corona

Contact: Maria Elo,

An international team of researchers were invited to publish a book chapter that offers a Chinese perspective. The COVID-19 outbreak has influenced the team in the sense that its’ members are stuck around the world and can work only virtually with rather limited time windows due to different time zones.
The book is themed as "The Impact of COVID-19 on International Business." and the tentative title of the chapter is “China gets triple hit by COVID-19” and discusses international business and related vulnerabilities. The outbreak has been spreading across the world, imposing radical impacts on the global economy and international business. China, as one of the hard-hit economies and major players in international business, is heavily affected. The research team analyzes the key effects and argues that China has got triple hits from the pandemic in terms of international business and this is likely to have long-lasting implications.

The group is pulled into all kinds of ‘Corona-extras’ where its’ expertise on international business and entrepreneurship is needed, e.g. giving talks. As an example, the team organized a mini zoom based conference where Maria Elo was the keynote and spoke about the COVID-19 concerns for SMEs and the different safety nets in Europe.


Togetherness – at a distance

Contact: Ian Woodward,

After cancellation of summer music festivals in 2020, where we were due to undertake major phases of data collection with our partners ‘Distortion’ in Copenhagen, ‘Heartland’ on Fyn, and ‘Tønder Festival’ in Sønderjylland, we turn to examine how cancellation impacts three key areas - the festival industry in DK, communities who host festivals, and also festival audiences. Of particular interest in summer 2020, we will look at how audiences creatively re-make festival experiences in COVID-space, and how the absence of these particular summer rituals is felt. Notably, the absence of festivals in 2020 offers us a very pertinent way of researching music festival’s contributions to social capital and economic livelihoods. We expect to resume fieldwork at festivals in 2021. We have co-written a response piece that will be published in ‘The European Sociologist’, May 2020, on how COVID-19 affects music festivals, and social spaces more generally.

The project ‘European Music Festivals, Public Spaces, and Cultural Diversity’ is funded by the European Commission and HERA under the H2020 scheme, ‘Public Spaces: Culture and Integration in Europe’ 


Domen Bajde: Coronavirus: what makes some people act selfishly while others are more responsible?

The Conversation

“The advance of COVID-19 has triggered a broad-scale mission of “responsibilisation”. This means that political leaders, health experts and even celebrities, neighbours and loved ones have called upon us all to act responsibly in order to slow the spread of the virus, and to minimise the damaging effects of the pandemic. I am a researcher of consumer responsibilisation, which means I study how consumers come to accept – or reject – personal responsibility for the consequences of their actions. For example, my work looks at how culturally prevalent views on, and emotional reactions to, social problems affect consumer responsibilisation – as well as how consumers can be motivated to accept responsibility. This work has inspired me to consider current developments in COVID-19 from this particular vantage point.”


Anna Schneider-Kamp: Towards understanding the “How” and “Why”: A call to arms for the study of the socio-cultural dimensions of COVID-19

The article

“Recognizing health as not only a biomedical but also a socio-culturally constructed entity is a prerequisite to establishing an interdisciplinary dialogue for a better understanding of the current as well as similar future outbreaks.”


Mette Præst Knudsen Spontaneous Innovation in Time of Crisis:Cases and Experiences from Danish Manufacturing Industries

“Any crisis requires strong capabilities to face and respond to the changed circumstances. The COVID-19 crisis is not only an economic crisis but foremost a health crisis. The crisis resulted in a call for immediate demand for health-care solutions.
The paper draws on theory of innovation management in time of crisis to identify the capabilities enabling spontaneous innovation. We utilize a dataset of Danish manufacturing firms that responded to a call for solutions during the COVID-19 crisis in the Spring of 2020. The paper finds three categories of successful innovative solutions; Rapid prototyping based on new or modified designs, process innovation, and a new innovative form, lateral innovation. These forms are described, and case examples provided.”