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Reframing the Past: Thoughts about Business Leadership and Decision Making under Uncertainty

  • Naomi R. Lamoreaux

How do business leaders make decisions in the face of uncertainty? More important, how do business and economic historians write a narrative that links a business problem, its proposed solution, and the outcome of this action without allowing the success or failure of the decision to determine the trajectory of the story? Counterfactual hypotheses and contextual analysis provide two tools that can help historians minimize the distortions of hindsight and recover a sense of the contingency that surrounds all decisions.

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