New Article in Long Range Planning: »Open about organizational failure«

Foto: Nong Vang via Unsplash

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.

New Publication: »Openwashing: A Decoupling Perspective on Organizational Transparency«

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In my PhD project (supervised by Leonhard Dobusch) I studied the institutionalization of Open Data in and around the city administrations of Berlin, London and New York City.  One of the questions I tried to answer was how organizations balance a public demand for information sharing with their inherent preference for informational control. My answers have now been published in an article entitled “Openwashing: A decoupling perspective on organizational transparency” in Technological Forecasting and Social Change as part of a Special Issue on the Sharing Economy (edited by Aurélien Acquier, Thibault Daudigeos and Jonatan Pinkse). The abstract reads as follows: Continue reading “New Publication: »Openwashing: A Decoupling Perspective on Organizational Transparency«”

New Publication: »Making an Impression with Openness: How Open Strategy-Making Practices Change in the Evolution of New Ventures«

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Thomas Gegenhuber and I have tracked open strategy-making practices on blogs of two ventures (Berlin-based mite and buffer in San Francisco) over the period of four years to answer the research question “how new ventures use open strategy-making as impression management over time?”. The article entitled “Making an Impression Through Openness: How Open Strategy-Making Practices Change in the Evolution of New Ventures” has now been accepted for publication in Long Range Planning as part of a special issue on Open Strategy (edited by Julia Hautz, David Seidl and Richard Whittington). The abstract reads as follows:

While previous open strategy studies have acknowledged open strategy’s function as an impression management instrument, their focus has mostly been on short episodes. The impression management literature, meanwhile, pays openness scant attention. By studying how new ventures engage in open strategy-making, we track how open strategy-making and respective impression management benefits evolve over time. Specifically, we draw on a comparative case study of two firms’ blog communication on strategy-related issues and corresponding audience responses over a four-year period. We identify three distinct modes of how organizations engage in open strategy-making with external audiences and show how each mode is related to a specific set of impression management effects. Having established the impression management functions of these modes, we then demonstrate how open strategy-making contributes to new ventures’ quests for legitimacy as they evolve. In the launch phase, dialoguing with blog audiences helps a venture attract endorsements for its organization and products. As the venture grows, concentrating on broadcasting relevant strategic information may attract media audiences’ additional support for pursuing openness as a desirable organizational practice.

Thomas has also blogged about our study. If your institution does not provide access to the article just e-mail me and I would be happy to share it with you. For more on open strategy-making in general and other contributions to the special issue in Long Range Planning, join the recently launched Open Strategy Network.