Crisis, learning and firm governance
PDF (Italiano)


firm performance
strategic renewal

How to Cite

Cucculelli, M. (2017). Crisis, learning and firm governance. Piccola Impresa Small Business, (1).
Received 2016-02-13
Accepted 2017-01-25
Published 2017-05-01


This paper investigates the ability of the firm to learn from previous negative events – crisis – and to adapt its behaviour to new market conditions. Identification is provided by the changes of company CEO occurred in the time interval between the 2003 and 2009. Using a large dataset of firms that underwent a CEO change in the between–crisis period, empirical results show that the occurrence of learning from large crises is relatively limited. However, when observed, learning significantly influences the firm’s ability to reorganize and its financial performance.
PDF (Italiano)


Appelbaum S. H., Goransson L. (1997). Transformational and adaptive learning within the learning organization: a framework for research and application, The Learning Organization, 4, 3

Argyris C. A., Schon D. A. (1978). Organizational learning, Addison-Wesley, Reading (trad. it. di Carmagnola F. (1998). Apprendimento organizzativo: teoria, metodo e pratiche, Milano, Guerrini e Associati.

Audretsch, D.B., Kuratko, D.F., & Link, A.N. (2015). Making Sense of the Elusive Paradigm of Entrepreneurship, Small Business Economics, 45 (4): 703-712.

Barr P. (1998). Adapting to unfamiliar environmental events: a look at the evolution of interpretation and its role in strategic change, Organization Science, 9, 6

Bartunek J. M. (1984). Changing interpretive schemes and organizational restructuring: the example of a religious order, Administrative Science Quarterly, 29

Basu S., A. Wadhwa. (2013). External venturing and discontinuous strategic renewal: an options perspective, Journal of Product Innovation Management, vol. 30, num. 5, p. 956-975

Baum J. A. C., Dahlin K. B. (2007). Aspiration performance and railroads’ patterns of learning from train wrecks and crashes, Organization Science, 18

Baumar P., Starbuck W.H. (2005). Learning from failures: Why it may not happen, Long Range Planning, 38, 3

Beck T. E., Plowman D. A. (2009). Experiencing rare and unusual events richly: the role of middle manager in animating and guiding organizational interpretation, Organization Science, 20, 5

Brown J. S., Duguid P. (1991). Organizational learning and communities of practice: toward a unified view of working, learning and innovation, Organization Science, 2

Brzozowski J., Cucculelli M. (2016). Learning From Crisis: A Systematic Literature Review, Mofir WP n.123, April.

Cangelosi V. E., Dill W. R. (1965). Organizational learning: observations toward a theory, Administrative Science Quarterly, 10

Cannon M. D., Edmondson A. C. (2005). Failing to learn and learning to fail (intelligently): how great organizations put failure to work to innovate and improve, Long Range Planning, 38, 3

Cardon M. S., Mcgrath R. G. (1999). When the going gets tough… Toward a psychology of entrepreneurial failure and re-motivation, Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research

Carley K. M., Harrald J. (1997). Organizational learning under fire: theory and practice, American Behavioral Scientist, 40, 3

Chen G., Hambrick D.C. (2011). CEO replacement in turnaround situations: executive (mis)fit and its performance implications, Organization Science, 23, 1

Chindooroy R., Muller P., Notaro G. (2007). Company survival following rescue and restructuring State aid, European Journal of Law and Economics, October, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 165-186

Christianson M. K., Farkas M. T., Sutcliffe K. M., Weick K. E. (2009) Learning through rare events: significant interruptions at the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum, Organization Science, 20, 5

Cook S. D. N., Yanow D. (1993). Culture and organizational learning, Journal of Management Enquiry, 2

Coopey J., Burgonye J. (2000). Politics and organizational learning, Journal of Management Studies, 6

Cope J. (2003). Entrepreneurial learning and critical reflection. Discontinuous events as triggers for ‘higher-level’ learning, Management Learning, 34, 4

Crossan M. N., Lane H. W., White R. (1999). An organizational learning framework: from intuition to institution, Academy of Management Review, 24, 3

Crossan M., Lane H., White R., Djurfeldt L. (1995). Organizational learning: dimensions for a theory, International journal of Organizational Analysis, 3, 4

Crossan M., Guatto T. (1996). Organizational learning research profile, Journal of Organizational Change Management, 9

Cucculelli, M., Bettinelli, C. (2015)., Business models, intangibles and firm performance: evidence on corporate entrepreneurship from Italian manufacturing SMEs, Small Business Economics, Vol. 45, No. 2, pp. 329–350

Cucculelli M., Bettinelli C. (2016). Family governance, learning and reaction to recession. Evidence from Italy. In Futures. The Journal of policy, planning and futures studies, Volume 75, January, Pages 92–103

Cucculelli M., Bettinelli C., Reinoldi (2014). How small-medium enterprises leverage intangibles during recessions. Evidence from the Italian clothing industry, Management Decision, vol8, pp1491-1515

D’aveni R. (1989). The aftermath of organizational decline: a longitudinal study of the strategic and managerial characteristics of declining firms, The Academy of Management Journal, 32, 3

Dearborn D. C., Simon H. A. (1958). Selective perception: a note on the department identifications of executive, Sociometry, 21

Dosi G., Marengo L., Paraskevopoulou E., Valente M. (2011). The value and dangers of remembrance in changing worlds: a model of cognitive and operational memory of organizations, Paper presentato alla DIME Final Conference, 6-8 April 2011, Maastricht

Dutton J., Duncan R. (1987). The influence of strategic planning on strategic change, Strategic Management Journal, 8, 2

Easterby-Smith M., Crossan M., Nicolini D. (2000). Organizational learning: debates past, present and future, Journal of Management Studies, 6

Ellis S., Mendel R, & Nir M. (2006). Learning from successful and failed experiences: the moderating role of kind of after–event review, Journal of Applied Psychology, 91

Fabbri T. M. (2003). L’apprendimento organizzativo, Ia edizione, Roma, Carocci Editore

Finkelstein S., Hambrick D. C. (1990). Top-management team tenure and organizational outcomes: the moderating role of managerial discretion, Administrative Science Quarterly, 35, 3

Fiol C. M., Lyles M. A. (1985). Organizational learning, Academy of Management Review, 10, 4

George L., Kaempf G. L., Klein G., Thorsden M. L., Wolf S. (1996). Decision making in complex naval command-and-control environments, Human Factors, 38

Gherardi S., Nicolini D. (2004). Apprendimento e conoscenza nelle organizzazioni, Roma, Carocci Editore

Gioia D. A., Chittipeddi K. (1991). Sensemaking and sensegiving in strategic initiation, Strategic Management Journal, 12

Glynn M. A., Lant T. K., Milliken J. M. (1994). Mapping learning process in organizations: a multi-level framework linking learning and organizing, Advances in managerial cognition and organizational information processing, Vol. 5

Grant R. M. (1996). Toward a knowledge-based theory of the firm, Strategic Management Journal, 17

Gundel S. (2005). Towards a new typology of crises, Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, 13, 3

Hambrick D. C., Fukutomi G. (1991). The seasons of a CEO`s tenure, Academy of Management Review, 16

Hamel G., Valikangas L. (2003). The quest for resilience, Harvard Business Review, September 2003

Haveman H. A. (1993). Ghosts of manager’ past: managerial succession and organizational mortality, Academy of Management Journal, 36,
Hedberg B. L. (1981). How organizations learn and unlearn, in Nystrom
P., Starbuck W. Handbook of organizational design, Oxford, Oxford University Press

Hedberg B.L., Nystrom P.C., Starbuck W.H. (1976). Camping on seesaws: prescriptions for a self-designing organization, Administrative Science Quarterly, 21

Huber G. P. (1991). Organizational learning: the contributing processes and the literatures, Organization Science, 2, 1

Huysman M. (1999). Balancing biases: a critical review of the literature on organizational learning

Isabella L.A. (1990). Evolving interpretations as a change unfolds: how manager construe key organizational events, Academy of Management Journal, 33

Jenter, D. And Kanaan, F. (2015). CEO Turnover and Relative Performance Evaluation. The Journal of Finance, 70: 2155–2184. doi:10.1111/jofi.12282

Jones M. (1995). Organizational learning: collective mind or cognitivist metaphor? Accounting Management and Information Technology, 1

Kogut B., Zander U. (1992). Knowledge of the firm, combinative capabilities, and the replication of technology, Organization Science, 3

Kuwada K. (1998). Strategic learning: the continuous side of discontinuous strategic change, Organization Science, 9, 6

Lalonde C. (2004). In search of archetypes in Crisis Management, Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, 12, 2

Lampel J., Shamsie J., Shapira Z. (2009). Experiencing the improbable: rare events and organizational learning, Organization Science, 20, 5

Lant T. K., Mezias S. (1992). An organizational learning model of convergence and reorientation, Organization Science, 3

Lant T. K., Milliken F. J., Batra B. (1992). Managerial learning and strategic reorientation, Strategic Management Journal, 13

Lant T.K., Montgomery C. (1987). Learning from strategic success and failure, Journal of Business Research, 15

Lave J. (1993). The practice of learning, Contemporary Theories of Learning

Levitt B., March J. G. (1988) Organizational learning, Annual Review of Sociology, 14

Madsen P. M. (2009). These lives will not be lost in vain: organizational learning from disaster in U.S. coal mining, Organization Science, 20, 5

Maitlis S. (2005). The social processes of organizational sensemaking, Academy of Management Journal, 48

March J. G. (1991). Exploration and exploitation in organizational learning, Organization Science, 2,1

March J. G., Sproull L. S., Tamuz M. (1991). Learning from samples of one or fewer Organization Science, 2, 1

Meyer A. D. (1982). Adapting to environmental jolts, Administrative Science Quarterly, 27

Mezias S., Lant T. (1994). Mimetic learning and the evolution of organizational populations, in Baum J., Singh J., Evolutionary Dynamics of Organizations, New York, Oxford University Press

Miller D., Frises P. H. (1984). A longitudinal study of the corporate lifestyle, Management Science, 30, 10

Milliken F. J., Lant T. K. (1991). The impact of an organization’s recent performance history on strategic persistence and change: The role of managerial interpretations, Advances in Strategic Management, Vol. 7

Milliken, F. J. (1990). Perceiving and interpreting environmental change: an examination of college administrators’ interpretation of changing demographics, Academy of Management Journal, 33

Miner A. S., Mezias S. J. (1996). Ugly duckling no more: pasts and futures of organizational learning research, Organization Science, 7

Nicolini D., Meznar N.B. (1995). The social construction of organizational learning: conceptual and practical issues in the field, Human Relations, 7

Nystrom P. C, Starbuck W.H. (1984). To avoid organizational crises, unlearn, Organizational Dynamics, 12, 4

Nystrom P. C., Starbuck W. H. (1984). Managing beliefs in organizations, The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 20, 3

Ocasio W. (1994). Political dynamics and the circulation of power: CEO succession in US industrial firms, 1960-1990, Administrative Science Quarterly. 39 2

Oster S. (1982). The diffusion of innovation among steel firms, Bell Journal of Economics, 13

Pearson C., Clair J. (1998). Reframing Crisis Management, Academy of Management Review, 23, 1

Pearson C., Mitroff I. (1993). From crisis prone to crisis prepared: a framework for Crisis Management, Academy of Management Executive, 7, 1

Pentland B.T. (1995). Information systems and organizational learning: the social epistemology of organizational knowledge systems, Accounting, Management and Information Technologies, 5, 1

Prahalad C. K., Hamel G. (1990). The core competence of the corporation, Harvard Business Review, 68, 3

Rerup C. (2009). Attentional triangulation: learning from unexpected rare crises, Organization Science, 20, 5

Romanelli E., Tushman M. (1994). Organizational transformation as punctuated equilibrium: an empirical test, Academy of Management Journal, 37, 5

Rosenthal U. (2003). September 11: Public administration and the study of crises and Crisis Management, Administration & Society, 35, 2

Roux-Dufort C. (2007). ‘A passion for imperfections. Revisiting Crisis Management, in Pearson C., Roux-Dufort C., Clair J., The International Handbook of Organizational Crisis Management, California, Sage

Rumelt R. P. (1995). Inertia and transformation, in Cynthia A. Resources in an evolutionary perspective: towards a synthesis of evolutionary and resource-based approaches to strategy, Norwell, Kluwer Academic Publishers

Sandeland L. E., Stablein R. E. (1987). The concept of organization mind, Research in the sociology of organizations, 5

Srinivasan, R., Lilien, G. L., & Sridhar, S. 2011. Should Firms Spend More on Research and Development and Advertising During Recessions? Journal of Marketing, 75(3): 49-65

Simon H. A. (1991). Bounded rationality and organizational learning, Organization Science, 1

Sitkin S. B. (1992). Learning through failure: the strategy of small losses, in Cohen M. D., Sproull L. S., Organizational Learning, California, SAGE

Starbuck W. H. (1996). Unlearning ineffective or obsolete technologies, International Journal of Technology Management, 11

Starbuck W. H. (2009). Perspective-cognitive reactions to rare events:
perceptions, uncertainty, and learning, Organization Science, 20, 5

Starbuck W.H., Greve A., Hedberg, B.L. (1978). Responding to crises, Journal of Business Administration, 9, 2

Staw B. M., Sandelands L. E., Dutton J. E. (1981). Threat-rigidity effects in organizational behavior: a multilevel analysis, Administrative Science Quarterly, 26 4

Tsang E., Zahra S. (2008). Organizational unlearning, Human Relations, 61, 10

Tucker A.L., Edmondson A.C. (2003). Why hospitals don’t learn from failures: organizational and psychological dynamics that inhibit system change, California Management Review, 45,

Tushman M., Romanelli E. (1985). Organizational evolution: a metamorphosis model of convergence and reorientation, in Cummings L.L., Staw B.M. Research in Organizational Behavior, Vol. 7, Greenwich, JAI Press.

Tushman M., Virany B., Romanelli E. (1992). Executive succession and organization outcomes in turbulent environments: an organizational learning approach, Organization Science, 3, 4

Weick K. E., Sutcliffe K. M., Obstfeld D. (2005). Organizing and the process of sensemaking, Organization Science, 16

Weick K. E. (1988). Enacted sensemaking in crisis situations, Journal of Management Studies, 25, 4

Weick K. E., Quinn R. E. (1999). Organizational change and development, Annual Review of Psychology, 50

Weick K. E., Sutcliffe K. M. (2006). Managing the unexpected. Resilient performance in an age of uncertainty, John Wiley and Sons

Wirtz B.W, Gottel V. And Daiser P, (2016). Business Model Innovation: Development, Concept and Future Research Directions, Journal of Business Models (2016)., Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. 1-28

Wiseman R. M, Bromiley P. (1996). Toward a model of risk-taking by declining organizations, Organization Science, 7, 5

Yeo R. K. (2006). Revisiting the roots of learning organization: a synthesis of the learning organization literature, The Learning Organization, 12, 4

Zollo M. (2009). Superstitious learning with rare strategic decisions: theory and evidence from corporate acquisitions, Organization Science, 20, 5

Copyright and licensing:  The journal supports the principles contained in the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to scientific literature (2003), reiterated in the Italian CRUI Guidelines on Open Access journals. Copyright Notice: papers made open to the public are published under the CC BY--4.0 license. 

Archiving :  This journal uses the LOCKSS system to create an archiving system, which is distributed between participating libraries and enables them to search through the permanent archives of the journal for the purposes of conservation and restoration. All journal data and publications are also saved and stored directly on the platform