Explanations of success and failure in management learning: What can we learn from Nokia's rise and fall?

Tomi Laamanen, Juha Antti Lamberg, Eero Vaara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We study the changing explanations of success and failure over the course of a firm's history, building on a discursive approach that highlights the role of narrative attributions in making sense of corporate performance. Specifically, we analyze how the Nokia Corporation was framed first as a success and later as a failure and how these dimensions of performance were explained in various actors' narrative accounts. In both the success and failure accounts, our analysis revealed a striking black-and-white picture that resulted in the institutionalization of Nokia's metanarratives of success and failure. Our findings also reveal a number of discursive attributional tendencies, and thus, warn of the cognitive and politically motivated biases that are likely to characterize management literature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-25
Number of pages24
JournalACADEMY OF MANAGEMENT LEARNING AND EDUCATION
Volume15
Issue number1
Early online date2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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