The dissertation, titled “After Firm Failure: Emotions, learning and re-entry” is based on close to 300 interviews with active owner-managers who had experienced firm failure.

Firm failure is an experience that can become an important stepping-stone to future entrepreneurial success or a devastating life event from which it is difficult to recover. Jenkins investigates this by focusing on how entrepreneurs learn, respond emotionally and recover from the emotional and financial costs of failure. She suggests that it can be difficult to learn from failure and maintain motivation to re-enter self-employment. She also suggests that it can be easier to cope with the financial costs of failure than the psychological costs.

“Innovations would not come to the market if people did not take risks. New and small firms create jobs. However, how failure impacts an entrepreneur can influence the number of individuals who chose to engage in entrepreneurship. Stigma associated with firm failure at the individual level can have macro level implications,” says Jenkins.

Faculty opponent was Professor Holger Patzelt, Technische Universität Munchen. Examining committee was Professor Deniz Ucbasaran, Warwick Business School, Professor Joakim Wincent, Luleå University of Technology, and Professor Leona Achtenhagen, JIBS. Chair of the defence was main tutor Professor Johan Wiklund, JIBS and Syracuse University. The committee declared that the thesis addresses a topic of significance to many, including academics, practitioners and policy-makers, and that it advances the field by making a significant empirical and theoretical contribution.

Anna Jenkins
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