Do non‐profit organizations ever really learn from their mistakes – or are they doomed to repeat them?

Joseph C. Santora (Director of Research and Visiting Professor of Management, ENPC School of International Management, Paris, France)
James C. Sarros (Professor of Management, Monash University, Caulfield, Australia)

Development and Learning in Organizations

ISSN: 1477-7282

Publication date: 20 April 2012



The aim of this article was to emphasize that board member failure to develop a succession plan places the organization in a precarious status quo mode, and thereby to help educate executive directors and board members about the need for an executive succession plan.


Case study methods were used to collect data presented in the case narrative.


The results of the authors' case study suggest that organizations that do not plan for executive succession events jeopardize their ability to pursue new opportunities.

Research limitations/implications

Generalizability of a single case study may be a research concern despite its in‐depth investigation, analysis, and findings.

Practical implications

Executive directors and board members must recognize the importance of an executive succession plan to ensure smooth transition from one executive to another.


In these complex times it is a strategic imperative that organizations are ready to address issues of uncertainty. An executive succession plan can help ensure organizational responses to changing internal and external environmental conditions.



Santora, J. and Sarros, J. (2012), "Do non‐profit organizations ever really learn from their mistakes – or are they doomed to repeat them?", Development and Learning in Organizations, Vol. 26 No. 3, pp. 8-10.

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Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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