We investigate how the successes and failures of people who initiate radical ideas influence (a) the inclination to take new personal initiatives and (b) the outcome of those initiatives. Using the data of 1,792 radical ideas suggested by 908 employees in a multinational firm's idea and innovation program, we unexpectedly find that failures, rather than successes, of initiators increase the likelihood of repeat initiative taking. We confirm our hypothesis that involving initiators with prior success in initiative taking has a positive effect on the outcome of a subsequent radical initiative. Our findings illustrate how learning unfolds in the context of radical initiatives and provide insights into how managers can support continuous and superior radical initiative taking.

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doi.org/10.1287/orsc.2013.0870, hdl.handle.net/1765/51558
ERIM Top-Core Articles
Organization Science
Rotterdam School of Management (RSM), Erasmus University

Deichmann, D, & van den Ende, J.C.M. (2014). Rising from failure and learning from success: The role of past experience in radical initiative taking. Organization Science, 25(3), 670–690. doi:10.1287/orsc.2013.0870