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On route from error to learning : an exploratory study into the process of learning from error in teams

Hollander, A.K. den (2017) On route from error to learning : an exploratory study into the process of learning from error in teams.

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Abstract:Through their composition and complexity organizations are inevitably faced with error. Recent developments in literature show that certain types of errors hold great potential for improving organisational performance and innovation through learning. Herein lies an essential role for teams as their ability to deal with error can have major influence on organisational learning. Nonetheless, limited research has been done regarding the actual process from error to learning on the team level in their daily work setting. To understand how the process of learning from error works one must gain understanding about the error handling strategies teams apply in dealing with error and how these strategies influence learning. Therefore, the current study explored the process of learning from error in teams by inquiry into the application of error handling strategies in a diverse set of 11 teams in both the public and the private sector by means of a questionnaire. Concurrently, in-depth interviews with single team members were done to identify how the error handling strategies are applied and how these strategies foster or hinder learning. The results indicated that the process of learning from error fostered by a combination error handling strategies. The process starts with identifying the error as such. Hereafter the error needs to be analysed and discussed for the team to be able alter and improve their actions. Moreover, the results suggest that the effectiveness of analysing and discussing could be fostered by first addressing the underlying emotions the errors evokes through de-escalating. The combination of these strategies form a process which allows teams to addressing the underlying variables of the error as well as the subsequent adaptation of their behaviour and actions which facilitates sustainable learning. When a team employed strategies such as anticipation and deliberate risk taking error were more likely to be identified. On the contrary, the commonly applied combination of the strategies identification and correcting was insufficient in fostering sustainable learning of the teams. The correction must be reinforced by analysing and discussing errors in order facilitate the process. Finally, four conditions were found the process of learning from error, namely: attitude of the team leader, time, accountability and team roles.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:70 social sciences in general, 81 education, teaching
Programme:Educational Science and Technology MSc (60023)
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