After what had begun as the supervisor of Nils Köster‘s master thesis when I was still at Freie University of Berlin has finally resulted in a publication, together with co-authors Erik Schäfer (also FU Berlin) and Christoph Seckler (ESCP). The article “Open about organizational failure: A communication perspective on postmortem impression management” has been accepted for publication in Long Range Planning and shows how postmortem statements of failed startup founders may lead to what we call an “organizational afterlife”:
Being open about failure as an entrepreneur is an increasingly common practice in and beyond startup communities, for example by proactively and strategically crafting public statements to frame subsequent failure conversations. Combining an impression management perspective with an analysis of communicative genres of failure narratives, we empirically investigate postmortem statements of failed entrepreneurs. Shifting the discourse from the (content of the) failure narratives towards considering its broader communicative context, we show how genres emerge from patterns of failure narratives and impression management strategies. Our analysis suggests that subgenres of postmortem statements represent different forms of openness about failure, and some subgenres in particular contribute to establishing an ‘organizational afterlife’ as a potentially long-lasting impression management strategy.
The journal pre-proof version is already available at the journal’s website. In case you don’t have access please contact me and I will be happy to provide you with a copy.