Brilliant mistake! Essays on incidents of management mistakes and mea culpa

Mark J. Palmer, Geoff Simmons, Ronan J. De Kervenoael

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine students’ perceptions of managerial mistakes and why (and why not) managers admit mistakes. Design/methodology/approach – This paper provides a reflective account of how students’ perceive management mistakes and deal with admitting “mea culpa” – “I am to blame”. Findings – The findings show a range of attitudes: they highlight the intermingling pressures associated with the cultural environment and mistakes; they identify media characteristics and its influences on mistakes and mea culpa; they highlight ceremonial processes and tasks that shape and influence the declaration of mea culpa; and they identify how the psychology and sociology of mistakes confronts and affects students. Taken together, the study highlights the varying degrees of wariness that is carried forward by the students from vicariously learning about management mistakes. Originality/value – This paper links up with recent discussions on retail failure and retail pedagogy. It is hoped that this paper will encourage more academics to address, and engage with, management mistakes creatively in their teaching.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)234-257
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Retail and Distribution Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • business failure
  • curricula
  • human failure
  • managers
  • retailing
  • United Kingdom


Dive into the research topics of 'Brilliant mistake! Essays on incidents of management mistakes and mea culpa'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this