Chapter | Business Archives. Reflections and Speculations | 2008

Business Archives and Overcoming Survivor Bias

by G. Jones


Among the most longstanding criticisms of business history as an academic discipline is the bias caused towards studying successful firms rather than failures, and the related use of longevity as a major criterion for success. The grand narratives of business history have been focused on the firms that got their strategies and organizations "right," rather than those that got them wrong, and towards the winners rather than the losers. This paper explores how corporate archives can be used to correct this bias, as they often contain the archives of firms.

Keywords: Business Ventures; Business History; Archives; Failure; Success;


Jones, G. "Business Archives and Overcoming Survivor Bias." In Business Archives. Reflections and Speculations, edited by M. Anson. London: Business Archives Council, 2008.