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: »Open strategy-making with crowds and communities«

Academic publication processes often take some time. For example, the article “Open strategy-making with crowds and communities: Comparing Wikimedia and Creative Commons” by Jakob Kapeller and myself, which has now been published in Long Range Planning, is not entirely new. Back in 2013 at the Academy of Management Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida, we had already received the prestigious Carolyn Dexter Best International Paper Award for a previous version of the article. Several rounds of revision later, we can proudly present the abstract of the now published final version of the paper:

In the wake of new digital technologies, organizations rely increasingly on contributions by external actors to innovate or even to fulfill their core tasks, including strategy-making processes. These external actors may take the form of crowds, where actors are isolated and dispersed, or of communities, where these actors are related and self-identify as members of their communities. While we know that including new actors in strategy-making may lead to tensions, we know little about how these tensions differ when either crowds or communities are concerned. Investigating this question by analyzing open strategy-making initiatives conducted by two non-profit organizations (Creative Commons and Wikimedia), we find that tensions with communities may be resolved with increasing openness in strategy-making, while crowds are better compatible with more exclusive strategy-making practices.

The full text of the article is available at the journal’s website. As usual, please send me an e-mail in case you are interested but your institution does not provide access to the journal.

Special Issue in Long Range Planning on »Open Strategy«


Last year I blogged about a study on open strategy blogging of new ventures by Thomas Gegenhuber and myself, which had been accepted for publication at Long Range Planning. Now the whole special issue on “Open Strategy” is available online and these are the contributions: Continue reading “Special Issue in Long Range Planning on »Open Strategy«”