In this paper we conceptualize explanations of company-specific commercial performance as corporate myths. To improve our understanding of anatomy and causal structure of corporate myths, we analyze publications that deal with Nokia's historical transformation from a loss-making 1980s conglomerate to a focused and successful telecommunications company in the early 1990s. From a corpus of related literature, 89 causal arguments are identified and analyzed in terms of the logic of the arguments employed. The analysis shows that: (1) most existing analyses offer either a specific or a biased explanation for Nokia's success; (2) very few explanations are either plausible or logical; and (3) it is most unlikely that another company would achieve the same outcomes even if exactly the same decisions were made. Even though combining and comparing different explanations does not enhance the validity of any specific historical interpretation of Nokia's evolution or commercial success, it does offer an improved conceptual understanding of the ingredients found in corporate myths.
- corporate myth
- popular management literature