Cameron School of Business at UNCW

Normalizing vs. analyzing: Drawing the lessons from failure to enhance firm innovativeness

Posted by Cameron School of Business on Aug 31, 2020 9:18:09 AM

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Story notes contributed by Alex Vestal, Professor in Management at the UNCW Cameron School of Business.

Alex Vestal, Ph.D. assistant professor of management at UNCW Cameron School of Business recently published “Normalizing vs. analyzing: Drawing the lessons from failure to enhance firm innovativeness” in the Journal of Business Venturing.

Vestal’s primary finding is that there are "two organizational approaches to failure: normalizing it (tolerating failure as a necessary part of the innovation process) and analyzing it (purposeful attempts to convert failure experiences into knowledge)."

According to Vestal, “It’s a really interesting and timely article, particularly given the popular press’ encouragement to ‘embrace failure.’ We show empirically, that embracing failure does not enhance innovation. Rather, managers must analyze failure, and discuss and debate failures to draw the appropriate lessons. Further, this debate must take place in an environment safe for constructive conflict, where people feel secure enough to have an open and honest debate of ideas, and people are comfortable raising dissenting viewpoints.”

Topics: analytics, capitalism, community, communication, business analytics, research, innovation

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Cameron School of Business at UNCW

UNCW was established as Wilmington College in 1947. The Department of Business and Economics became the Cameron School of Business in 1979. Focused on the transformation of today’s business world from the industrial age into the information age, business education at the Cameron School of Business is focused on the technical, analytical and interpersonal skills students will need to lead this fundamental change in the business world through the 21st century.

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