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Journal Article

Good night, and good luck: Perspectives on luck in management scholarship

Academy of Management Annals 10 (1): 409–451
2010 AOM Best Paper Award Behavioral Strategy
Chengwei Liu, Mark de Rond (2016)
Strategy and general management
Luck, attribution, counterfactual, serendipity, management
It is not insignificant that seminal contributions to management scholarship have highlighted luck as an alternative explanation for performance differences between individuals and organizations. Yet it has rarely taken center-stage in scholarship. The principal purpose of this paper is to provide a systematic review of the application of luck in the management literature and in such foundation disciplines as economics, sociology, and psychology. Our analysis finds five common perspectives on luck: (a) luck as Attribution; (b) luck as Randomness; (c) luck as Counterfactual; (d) luck as Undeserved; and (e) luck as Serendipity. We outline various ways in which research on luck may be advanced along each of these perspectives, and develop an underexplored, sixth, perspective on (f) luck as Leveler to provide a possible solution to such issues as social inequality and (unwarranted) executive compensation.
© 2016 Academy of Management
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