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Opportunity, motivation and ability to learn from failures and errors: Review, synthesis, and the way forward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Opportunity, motivation and ability to learn from failures and errors : Review, synthesis, and the way forward. / Dahlin, Kristina Birgitta; Chuang, You-ta; Roulet, Thomas Julien.

In: Academy of management annals, Vol. 12, No. 1, 01.2018, p. 252-277.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Harvard

Dahlin, KB, Chuang, Y & Roulet, TJ 2018, 'Opportunity, motivation and ability to learn from failures and errors: Review, synthesis, and the way forward', Academy of management annals, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 252-277. https://doi.org/10.5465/annals.2016.0049

APA

Dahlin, K. B., Chuang, Y., & Roulet, T. J. (2018). Opportunity, motivation and ability to learn from failures and errors: Review, synthesis, and the way forward. Academy of management annals, 12(1), 252-277. https://doi.org/10.5465/annals.2016.0049

Vancouver

Dahlin KB, Chuang Y, Roulet TJ. Opportunity, motivation and ability to learn from failures and errors: Review, synthesis, and the way forward. Academy of management annals. 2018 Jan;12(1):252-277. https://doi.org/10.5465/annals.2016.0049

Author

Dahlin, Kristina Birgitta ; Chuang, You-ta ; Roulet, Thomas Julien. / Opportunity, motivation and ability to learn from failures and errors : Review, synthesis, and the way forward. In: Academy of management annals. 2018 ; Vol. 12, No. 1. pp. 252-277.

Bibtex Download

@article{efe80078ea364a8f95c0e2d8ae4877d4,
title = "Opportunity, motivation and ability to learn from failures and errors: Review, synthesis, and the way forward",
abstract = "Although organizations and individuals tend to focus on learning from success, research has shown that failure can yield crucial insights in various contexts that range from small mistakes and errors, product recalls, accidents, and medical errors to large-scale disasters. This review of the literature identifies three mechanisms—opportunity, motivation, and ability—through which individuals, groups, and organizations learn from failure, and it bridges the gaps between different levels of analysis. Opportunity to learn from failure mostly takes the shape of more information about errors and failures that are generated by one’s own and others’ prior failures or near-failures. Motivation to learn from failure is hindered by punitive leaders and organizations. Finally, the ability to learn from failure partly relies on inherent attitudes and characteristics, but can be further developed through thoughtful analysis and transfers of successful routines. Our review leads us to distinguish between erroneous versus correct processes and adverse versus successful outcomes to better understand the full gamut of events that are faced by organizations. We identify the existence of noisy learning environment, where spurious successes (when erroneous processes still lead to successful outcomes) and spurious failures (when correct processes are combined with adverse outcomes) lower the opportunity to learn. Considering noisy learning situations is helpful when understanding the differences between slow- and fast-learning environments. We conclude our review by identifying a number of unexplored areas we hope scholars will address to better our understanding of failure learning.",
author = "Dahlin, {Kristina Birgitta} and You-ta Chuang and Roulet, {Thomas Julien}",
year = "2018",
month = "1",
doi = "10.5465/annals.2016.0049",
language = "English",
volume = "12",
pages = "252--277",
journal = "Academy of management annals",
issn = "1941-6067",
publisher = "Routledge",
number = "1",

}

RIS (suitable for import to EndNote) Download

TY - JOUR

T1 - Opportunity, motivation and ability to learn from failures and errors

T2 - Review, synthesis, and the way forward

AU - Dahlin, Kristina Birgitta

AU - Chuang, You-ta

AU - Roulet, Thomas Julien

PY - 2018/1

Y1 - 2018/1

N2 - Although organizations and individuals tend to focus on learning from success, research has shown that failure can yield crucial insights in various contexts that range from small mistakes and errors, product recalls, accidents, and medical errors to large-scale disasters. This review of the literature identifies three mechanisms—opportunity, motivation, and ability—through which individuals, groups, and organizations learn from failure, and it bridges the gaps between different levels of analysis. Opportunity to learn from failure mostly takes the shape of more information about errors and failures that are generated by one’s own and others’ prior failures or near-failures. Motivation to learn from failure is hindered by punitive leaders and organizations. Finally, the ability to learn from failure partly relies on inherent attitudes and characteristics, but can be further developed through thoughtful analysis and transfers of successful routines. Our review leads us to distinguish between erroneous versus correct processes and adverse versus successful outcomes to better understand the full gamut of events that are faced by organizations. We identify the existence of noisy learning environment, where spurious successes (when erroneous processes still lead to successful outcomes) and spurious failures (when correct processes are combined with adverse outcomes) lower the opportunity to learn. Considering noisy learning situations is helpful when understanding the differences between slow- and fast-learning environments. We conclude our review by identifying a number of unexplored areas we hope scholars will address to better our understanding of failure learning.

AB - Although organizations and individuals tend to focus on learning from success, research has shown that failure can yield crucial insights in various contexts that range from small mistakes and errors, product recalls, accidents, and medical errors to large-scale disasters. This review of the literature identifies three mechanisms—opportunity, motivation, and ability—through which individuals, groups, and organizations learn from failure, and it bridges the gaps between different levels of analysis. Opportunity to learn from failure mostly takes the shape of more information about errors and failures that are generated by one’s own and others’ prior failures or near-failures. Motivation to learn from failure is hindered by punitive leaders and organizations. Finally, the ability to learn from failure partly relies on inherent attitudes and characteristics, but can be further developed through thoughtful analysis and transfers of successful routines. Our review leads us to distinguish between erroneous versus correct processes and adverse versus successful outcomes to better understand the full gamut of events that are faced by organizations. We identify the existence of noisy learning environment, where spurious successes (when erroneous processes still lead to successful outcomes) and spurious failures (when correct processes are combined with adverse outcomes) lower the opportunity to learn. Considering noisy learning situations is helpful when understanding the differences between slow- and fast-learning environments. We conclude our review by identifying a number of unexplored areas we hope scholars will address to better our understanding of failure learning.

U2 - 10.5465/annals.2016.0049

DO - 10.5465/annals.2016.0049

M3 - Article

VL - 12

SP - 252

EP - 277

JO - Academy of management annals

JF - Academy of management annals

SN - 1941-6067

IS - 1

ER -

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