The Anatomy of Business Failure

January 16, 2021

Published in European Journal of Management and Business Economics (ISSN: 2444-8494, Publication date: 3 July 2017), full paper is available in this link.



The purpose of this paper is to analyze the aftermath of business failure (BF) by addressing: how the individual progressed and developed new ventures, how individuals changed business behaviors and practices in light of a failure, and what was the effect of previous failure on the individual’s decisions to embark on subsequent ventures.


The authors resort to qualitative methods to understand the aftermath of BF from a retrospective point of a successful entrepreneur. Specifically, the authors undertook semistructured interviews to six entrepreneurs, three from the north of Europe and three from the south and use interpretative phenomenological analysis.


The authors found that previous failure impacted individuals strongly, being shaped by the individual’s experience and age, and their perception of blame for the failure. An array of moderator costs was identified, ranging from antecedents to institutions that were present in the individual’s lives. The outcomes are directly relatable to the failed experience by the individual. The authors also found that the failure had a significant effect on the individual’s career path.


While predicting the failure of healthy firms or the discovery of the main determinants that lead to such an event have received increasingly more attention in the last two decades, the focus on the consequences of BF is still lagging behind. The present study fills this gap by analyzing the aftermath of BF.


Business failure, Entrepreneurship, Consequences, Interpretative phenomenological analysis, Learning from failure

Artur Raimundo Dias

Artur Raimundo Dias

Porto, Portugal


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