THE SIZE OF FAILURE MATTERS: LEARNING FROM MINOR, MEDIUM AND BIG FAILURES
You have probably heard that you learn from failing. But do you learn more from failing big?
Past studies on organizational learning have attempted to discern the boundary conditions that explain how organizations can learn from their failures. We contribute to this effort by disaggregating failure experience into major, medium, and minor and address its impact on organizational performance. In contrast to some prior research, we find that organizations learn more effectively from greater failures. We also explore how recent successes may affect organizational learning from major failures, and find that organizations learn more from major failures when they have had more recent successes. We conduct our research in the context of the biotech industry.
Antonio Garzón-Vico is a researcher in the Perigo Chair of Business of Biotech in University College Dublin. Antonio investigates how firms learn from failure and success in the context of the biotech industry. His studies consider how different factors (e.g. magnitude, frequency, resources, stress) condition firms’ ability to extract relevant lessons from their failures and successes. His work in this area has received the Best Paper Award at the Academy of Management Conference. Antonio is also currently working on a theoretical model addressing the microfoundations of absorptive capacity.