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Lessons to be learnt from Nokia


We can see many organizations in our surroundings. Each of them have their own goals and objectives. Every existing organization works in order to achieve their goals and objectives. Their performance directs them toward their goals. However, some organizations fail to achieve their goals. We have seen many leading organizations collapsing out of nowhere. There is fierce competition in the market among the organizations and it is not easy for any organization to survive in such competitive market.

A review of notable business failures like BCCI, Barings Bank and Pan American Airlines and nearly fatal plunges by organizations such as Chrysler, IBM, Sears, Apple, and John-Mansville provide great learning laboratories issues of failure. All of these once successful organizations began to struggle to achieve their goals and their performance began to slip. There are many reasons behind their failure. “Nokia” a renowned telecommunication equipment manufacturing company, which used to have more than 40% of market share in the world has now only 2.4% of the total market share. There are many reasons behind the fall of this giant company. We can learn many things from the history of Nokia.

Learning from failure

A review of business literature on organizational failure identified four primary schools of thoughts on organizational failures. They are : Failures at the top, Customer and marketing failures, Financial management failures, System and Structural failures. One main reason for the fall of Nokia is not being able to cope with changing demand. Failures are painful. The experience itself is emotionally loaded. Falling to 2.4% from more than 40% of market share is a nightmare for any organization. Nokia is now slowly reviving itself in the market. Between this there are many queries about Nokia. What were the reasons behind the failure of Nokia? Will Nokia be able to get back to the competition? Can Nokia learn from it’s failure?  

We should first know that the success and failure go hand in hand and this applies to all aspects of life. Every successful person were once a failure and that failure had taught them the biggest lesson in their life. One cannot learn everything immediately, things need to be learned and learning involves making mistakes. Remarkable success cannot be achieved by doing what everybody else is doing, you need to play innovative. Instead of giving up, everybody should learn from their failure. Nokia is also gradually trying to revive itself in the market. Nokia has started to analyze the market, the changing world and their changing demands. They are noe trying to fetch the public demand. Nokia is now trying to play innovative in order to get back to their original track. New innovation always tends to lure more customers. So it would be great if Nokia can innovate something new instead of following the same technology that it’s competitors are using. It may provide a competitive advantage.

Nokia should try to avoid similar failures in the future. It should now detect and prevent such failures. It is not difficult to detect big, obvious failures. In many cases, those large-scale failures could have been easily prevented by detecting and solving mistakes at the root. In order to detect such failures they should have a in depth-failure analysis. Following a failure it is advisable not to conduct an premature actions. It  is necessary to have in depth analysis of the failure so that similar conditions may be tracked in upcoming future. Such analysis helps to plan and execute in the future. When a plan is made it should be re-evaluated several times. There may be several errors while making a plan so the plan should be analyzed several times. It decreases the risk to failure. Do not ever beat yourself up for doing something wrong but go back and revisit all relevant steps in your planning. Every organization should have a backup plan or alternative plan for every important move and decisions. Incase Plan A failed, Plan B should be executed. Proper plan and the preparation for its execution, both should be re-evaluated. And the plan should be properly executed.

All these plans should be properly executed and it should have a positive outcome. Nokia should  be focused on increasing its productivity. Productivity is the efficient use of resources, labour, capital, land, materials, energy, information, in the production of  various goods and services. According to a article published by Mckinsey, a good management is a must in achieving a desired productivity. Weather its an individual organization or a sum of all organizations of a country, it is necessary to have a best management team to achieve highest productivity. The improvement in productivity does not only depends on the management of the company, government and its policies also have direct influence in the performance and productivity of any organization. Therefore every organization should work focusing on the government policies of the operating country and have the best management team.

Coming back to the competition is not an easy task for a failed company. Its not impossible either. Any one can be a game changing leader. Being a game changing leader requires a mastery of a wide range of leadership skills. Executives should seek to align purpose, performance and principles ;doing so helps engage employees. Similarly, leaders need a willingness to embrace dualities, such as combining urgency and patience. Nokia need to learn how to build companies that are simultaneously purpose-driven, performance-focused, and principle-led. Being performance driven is clearly essential to success; continuous disruption, rapid technological innovation, and turbulence requires that today’s leaders build a agile organizations with resilient employees in order to achieve superior performance. It is not easy to build a organization that is simultaneously propose-driven, performance-focused, and principle led. There are often inherent tensions and conflicting goals associated with trying to achieve all three aims. This task requires not only a set of leadership skills but also five mindsets that encompasses the embedded tension that face leaders of large complex organizations. Executives must learn to reconcile these tensions by mastering a series of five conflicting complementary dualities: urgency and patience, collective and individual accountability, coaching and driving performance , students and teacher, and humility and boldness. If these goals are achieved then anyone can turn themselves into a game changing leader.


Instead of giving up one should learn from failures he/she faces. Similarly, Nokia should also turn itself into a learning organization and learn lessons from its failure. They should develop a learning culture in the organization. Developing a learning culture is no longer just another fanciful idea. It is becoming more imperative  for companies to cultivate learning if they wish to stay in business. Therefore  every organization should cultivate a learning culture and adopt to change. Many big and small companies can learn from Nokia and prevent themselves from becoming the next ‘Nokia”.


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GArvin, D. A. (n.d.). Building a Learning Organization. Harvard Business Review .

Longenecker, C. O., Simoneth, J. L., & Sharkey, T. W. Why Organization Fail: the view from the front line. Ohio,USA: The Graduate School of Management, The university of Toledo.

Ready, D., & Mulally, A. (n.d.). How to Become a Game-Changing Leader. MITSlogan Management Review .

Reenen, J. D. (n.d.). Why management matters for Productivity. McKinsey Quartly .

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