Post-failure impression management: A typology of entrepreneurs’ public narratives after business closure

Ewald Kibler, Christoph Mandl, Steffen Farny, Virva Salmivaara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)
144 Downloads (Pure)


What are the strategies entrepreneurs apply to present business closure to public audiences? Most entrepreneurs choose to communicate venture failure publicly so as to foster a favorable impression of failure, in effect engaging in impression management to maintain and/or repair their professional reputation for future career actions. To date, however, the focus of most research has been on managing failure within organizational settings, where organizational actors can interact closely with their audiences. We know little about entrepreneurs’ strategies in presenting failure to public audiences in cases where they have limited opportunities for interaction. In response to this, we present an analysis of public business-closure statements to generate a typology of five venture-failure narratives—Triumph, Harmony, Embrace, Offset, and Show—that explains entrepreneurs’ distinct sets of impression-management strategies to portray failure in public. In conclusion, we theorize from our public venture-failure typology to discuss how our work advances understanding of the interaction between organizational failure, impression management, and entrepreneurial narratives.
Original languageEnglish
Article number0018726719899465
Pages (from-to)286-318
Number of pages33
JournalHuman Relations
Issue number2
Early online date20 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Business closure
  • Typology
  • organizational failure
  • latent semantic analysis
  • entrepreneurs


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