Vocations and Learning

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 25–39 | Cite as

Error Orientation and Reflection at Work

  • Stefanie HetznerEmail author
  • Martin Gartmeier
  • Helmut Heid
  • Hans Gruber
Original Paper


Reflection on events at work, including errors is often as a means to learn effectively through work. In a cross-sectional field study in the banking sector, we investigated attitudes towards workplace errors (i.e. error orientation) as predictors of reflective activity. We assumed the organisational climate for psychological safety to have a mediating effect. The study participants were 84 client advisors from the retail banking departments in branches of a German bank. The client advisors’ were being affected by a range of changes in their workplaces at the time of the data collection. This situation afforded these workers opportunity for learning but also involved the risk of error by these staff. Regression analyses identified that error competence and learning from errors were significant predictors of reflection. The results confirmed the mediating role of psychological safety on the association between attitudes towards errors and reflective working behaviour.


Error orientation Psychological safety Reflection Retail banking Workplace change 



This work was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation) through a grant (GR 1384/11-2) awarded to Hans Gruber and Helmut Heid. We thank the anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stefanie Hetzner
    • 1
    Email author
  • Martin Gartmeier
    • 2
  • Helmut Heid
    • 1
  • Hans Gruber
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Educational ScienceUniversity of RegensburgRegensburgGermany
  2. 2.School of EducationTechnical University of MunichMunichGermany

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