Uncertainty in industrial markets: The COVID-19 pandemic

Ryan Matthews, Tennessee Technological University
Brian N. Rutherford, Kennesaw State University
Diane Edmondson, Middle Tennessee State University
Lucy Matthews, Middle Tennessee State University


This article develops a deeper conceptualization and understanding of the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on industrial firms. Qualitative analysis is conducted based on twelve semi-structured interviews with executives from organizations with over $100B in combined annual revenues. Constructs studied included governmental forces, supply and demand-side changes, new communication processes, short- and long-term impacts, and the new normal. This article provides evidence of the unprecedented impacts on industrial firms in the early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic. Using qualitative analysis, along with emergence theory as the theoretical lens, this study develops a framework for examining the impact of disruptive events, like the COVID-19 pandemic. Implications regarding industrial firms are provided, along with the development of eight propositions for future inquiry.