How the COVID-19 pandemic affects physical store frontline employees

  • Anna Andersson
  • Jesper Johansson

Student thesis: Bachelor


The physical store frontline employees are the link between the organization and the customers. During 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic has had different effect on different retail sectors, some have had their worst results while ICA Maxi stores have increased their sales. This dissertation aimed to explore challenges the frontline employees and their store managers perceive they face during the COVID-19 pandemic in the retail store context. In order to explore these challenges semi structured interviews were conducted at an ICA Maxi store in the south of Sweden. The study found that the frontline employees are not involved in the decision-making process, that the leaders support is important for initiatives to be successful, and that there was no additional training for the frontline employees due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We draw the conclusion that while frontline employees are not included in the formal decision-making, they are still able to raise their concerns with their managers. We also draw the conclusion that managerial support is important when implementing initiatives for the frontline employees. Finally, we draw the conclusion that none of the frontline employees felt the need for any additional training. This study contributes to the scarce amount of research from the frontline employee perspective in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Practically, this study could be of value for store managers in order to enhance the customer interaction from a frontline employee point of view.

Date of Award2021-Aug-18
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorKarin Alm (Supervisor) & Heléne Tjärnemo (Examiner)

Educational program

  • Degree of Bachelor of Science in Business and Economics

Courses and Subjects

  • International business and marketing

University credits

  • 15 HE credits

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Business Administration (50202)


  • covid-19
  • frontline employees
  • grocery store
  • managerial support
  • pandemic
  • physical store

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