Research on business failure focuses primarily on entrepreneurs and largely ignores individuals and mid-level managers who comprise most corporate populations. This study aimed to mitigate this gap by exploring how 15 individuals and mid-level managers working in a Fortune 50 technology company experienced failure and how their beliefs impacted their experience and learnings. Qualitative interview data were analyzed using a schema from the literature. The results suggested that emotional regulation, belief in personal agency, and separation of self from work supported learning and positive outcomes. Future research would create deeper insights into the social impacts on emotions and sensemaking and the importance of dynamics such as relative power.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Business failures; Middle managers; Employees--High technology industries

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graziadio Business School



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Gary Mangiofico

Included in

Business Commons