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Maria Hedlund

Maria Hedlund

Associate Professor | Senior Lecturer

Maria Hedlund

The making of a Swedish strategy : How organizational culture shaped the Public Health Agency's pandemic response


  • Tobias Olofsson
  • Shai Mulinari
  • Maria Hedlund
  • Åsa Knaggård
  • Andreas Vilhelmsson

Summary, in English

Several suggestions have been made as to why Sweden's approach to managing the COVID-19 pandemic came to rely on a strategy based on voluntary measures. Two of the most prominent explanations for why the country chose a different strategy than many other countries have focused on micro- and macro-level factors, explaining the strategy either in terms of the psychologies of prominent actors or by pointing to particularities in Swedish constitutional law. Supported by a qualitative analysis using interviews and text analysis, we argue that the Swedish strategy cannot be understood without paying attention to the meso-level and the organizations that produced the strategy. Moreover, we argue that to understand why one of the central organizations in Swedish pandemic management, the Public Health Agency, came to favor certain interventions, one must investigate the culture of production inside the organization and how it created precedents that led the Agency to approach pandemic management with a focus on balancing current and future health risks.


  • Department of Political Science
  • Department of Sociology
  • Sociology
  • Centre for Environmental and Climate Science (CEC)
  • BECC: Biodiversity and Ecosystem services in a Changing Climate
  • Environmental Epidemiology
  • Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Lund University

Publishing year





SSM Qualitative Research in Health



Document type

Journal article




  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)


  • COVID-19
  • Sweden
  • Pandemic Crisis
  • Culture of production
  • Organizations
  • COVID-19
  • Sweden
  • Pandemic crisis
  • Culture of production
  • Organizations



Research group

  • Environmental Epidemiology


  • ISSN: 2667-3215