Sweden: Can a Non-coercive Strategy That Appeals to Individual Responsibility Succeed?

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Sweden took a decidedly different path from Denmark and experienced a more protracted outbreak with far more deaths per capita than its Nordic neighbors. The Swedish Health Agency designed Sweden’s coronavirus strategy based on the understanding that an appeal to citizens’ self-restraint and sense of responsibility would be sufficient since Swedes have high confidence in public institutions and governmental agencies. Only high schools and colleges were closed; businesses and restaurants, etc. remained open. Encountering increasing criticism due to a high mortality rate, the National Health Agency asserted that its science-based strategy was superior to attempts to control behavior at a detailed microlevel or to enforce policies through sanctions. A strict law in the Swedish constitution prohibits the Swedish government from meddling in the affairs of the administrative authorities. Accordingly, the Swedish Prime Minister played a minor role in communicating guidelines when compared to his Danish counterpart.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Global Leadership
EditorsJoyce S. Osland, Sebastian B. Reiche, Betina Szkudlarek, Mark E. Mendenhall
Number of pages4
Place of PublicationBingley
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing
Publication date2022
ISBN (Print)9781800718388
ISBN (Electronic)9781800718371
Publication statusPublished - 2022
SeriesAdvances in Global Leadership

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