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Firm failure processes and components of failure risk: An analysis of European bankrupt firms


  • Lukason, Oliver
  • Laitinen, Erkki K.


This paper aims to extract firm failure processes (FFPs) by using failure risk and rank the importance of failure risk contributors for different stages of FFPs. The dataset is composed of 1234 bankrupt firms from different European countries and three theoretically motivated FFPs are detected. For the dominant FFP found (73% of cases), failure risk becomes high very shortly before bankruptcy is declared. Annual and accumulated profitability are the most important failure risk contributors for these stages of all FFPs, where failure probability exceeds 50%. The obtained results provide important implications for bankruptcy prediction research and practice, especially in terms of identifying the most important financial predictors.

Suggested Citation

  • Lukason, Oliver & Laitinen, Erkki K., 2019. "Firm failure processes and components of failure risk: An analysis of European bankrupt firms," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 380-390.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jbrese:v:98:y:2019:i:c:p:380-390
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2018.06.025

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Erkki K. Laitinen & Oliver Lukason, 2014. "Do firm failure processes differ across countries: evidence from Finland and Estonia," Journal of Business Economics and Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(5), pages 810-832, November.
    2. Amankwah-Amoah, Joseph, 2016. "An integrative process model of organisational failure," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(9), pages 3388-3397.
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    7. N. Crutzen & D. Van Caillie, 2010. "Towards a Taxonomy of Explanatory Failure Patterns for Small Firms: A Quantitative Research Analysis," Review of Business and Economic Literature, Intersentia, vol. 55(4), pages 438-463, December.
    8. Régis Blazy & Bertrand Chopard & Agnès Fimayer, 2008. "Bankruptcy law: a mechanism of governance for financially distressed firms," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 25(3), pages 253-267, June.
    9. Scott, James, 1981. "The probability of bankruptcy: A comparison of empirical predictions and theoretical models," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 317-344, September.
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    11. Erkki Laitinen, 1995. "The duality of bankruptcy process in Finland," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(3), pages 433-454.
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    13. Dimitras, A. I. & Zanakis, S. H. & Zopounidis, C., 1996. "A survey of business failures with an emphasis on prediction methods and industrial applications," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 90(3), pages 487-513, May.
    14. Laitinen, Ek, 1993. "Financial predictors for different phases of the failure process," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 215-228, March.
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    16. Stewart Thornhill & Raphael Amit, 2003. "Learning About Failure: Bankruptcy, Firm Age, and the Resource-Based View," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 14(5), pages 497-509, October.
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