Advertisement

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

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Error orientation Psychological safety Reflection Retail banking Workplace change 

Notes

Acknowledgements

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.

References

  1. Anderson, L., & Thorpe, R. (2004). New perspectives on action learning: developing criticality. Journal of European Industrial Training, 28, 657–668.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baer, M., & Frese, M. (2003). Innovation is not enough: climates for initiative, psychological safety, process innovation and firm performance. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 24, 45–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baron, R. M., & Kenny, D. A. (1986). The moderator-mediator variable distinction in social psychology research: conceptual, strategic and statistical consideration. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51, 1173–1182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bauer, J. (2008). Learning from errors at work: Studies on nurses’ engagement in error-related learning activities. Doctoral dissertation, University of Regensburg, Germany. http://www.opus-bayern.de/uni-regensburg/volltexte/2008/990 (Accessed April 21, 2010).
  5. Bauer, J., & Mulder, R. H. (2007). Modelling learning from errors in daily work. Learning in Health and Social Care, 6, 121–133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Berg, A., & Hallberg, I. R. (2001). Effects of systematic clinical supervision on psychiatric nurses’ sense of coherence, creativity, work-related strain, job satisfaction and view of the effects from clinical supervision: a pre-post test design. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 6, 371–381.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Billett, S. (2001). Learning through work: workplace affordances and individual engagement. Journal of Workplace Learning, 13, 209–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Boud, D. J., & Walker, D. (1991). Experience and learning: Reflection at work. Geelong: Deakin University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Boud, D. J., Keogh, R., & Walker, D. (1989). Promoting reflection in learning: a model. In D. J. Boud, R. Keogh, & D. Walker (Eds.), Reflection: Turning experience into learning (pp. 18–40). London: Kogan Page.Google Scholar
  10. Boud, D. J., Cressey, P., & Docherty, P. (Eds.). (2006). Productive reflection at work. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  11. Cannon, M. D., & Edmondson, A. C. (2001). Confronting failure: antecedents and consequences of shared beliefs about failure in organizational work groups. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 22, 161–177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cannon, M. D., & Edmondson, A. C. (2005). Failing to learn and learning to fail (intelligently): how great organizations put failure to work to innovate and improve. Long Range Planning: International Journal of Strategic Management, 38, 299–319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cohen, J., Cohen, P., West, S. G., & Aiken, L. S. (2003). Applied multiple regression / correlation analysis for the behavioural sciences. Hillsdale: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  14. Edmondson, A. C. (1999). Psychological safety and learning behavior in work teams. Administrative Science Quarterly, 44, 350–383.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Ellström, P.-E. (2006). The meaning and role of reflection in informal learning at work. In D. J. Boud, P. Cressey, & P. Docherty (Eds.), Productive reflection at work (pp. 43–53). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  16. Gartmeier, M., Kipfmueller, S., Gruber, H., & Heid, H. (2008). Reflection and professional competence. A study at dynamic workplaces in the nursing sector. In S. Billett, C. Harteis, & A. Eteläpelto (Eds.), Emerging perspectives of workplace learning (pp. 131–147). Rotterdam: Sense.Google Scholar
  17. Harteis, C., Bauer, J., & Haltia, P. (2007). Learning from errors in the workplace—insights from two studies in Germany and Finland. In H. Gruber & T. Palonen (Eds.), Learning in the workplace—new developments (pp. 119–138). Turku: Finnish Educational Research Association.Google Scholar
  18. Hocking, R. R. (2003). Methods and applications of linear models. New York: Wiley.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Høyrup, S. (2004). Reflection as a core process in organizational learning. Journal of Workplace Learning, 16, 442–454.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Høyrup, S., & Elkjaer, B. (2006). Reflection. Taking it beyond the individual. In D. J. Boud, P. Cressey, & P. Docherty (Eds.), Productive reflection at work (pp. 29–42). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  21. Kauffeld, S., Grote, S., & Henschel, A. (2007). Das Kompetenz-Reflexions-Inventar (KRI) [The competence reflection inventory]. In L. von Rosenstiel & J. Erpenbeck (Eds.), Handbuch Kompetenzmessung (pp. 337–347). Stuttgart: Schäffer-Poeschel.Google Scholar
  22. Keith, N., & Frese, M. (2005). Self-regulation in error management training: Emotion control and metacognition as mediators of performance effects. Journal of Applied Psychology, 90, 677–691.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kim, D., & Lee, S. (2002). Designing collaborative reflection supporting tools in e-project based learning environments. Journal of Interactive Learning Research, 13, 375–392.Google Scholar
  24. MacKinnon, D. P., Lockwood, C. M., Hoffman, J. M., West, S. G., & Sheets, V. (2002). A comparison of methods to test mediation and other intervening variable effects. Psychological Methods, 7, 83–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Marienau, C. (1999). Self-assessment at work: outcomes of adult learners’ reflections on practice. Adult Education Quarterly, 49, 135–146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Moon, J. A. (1999). Reflection in learning and professional development. Theory and practice. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  27. Nyhan, B. (2006). Collective reflection for excellence in work organizations: An ethical ‘community of practice’ perspective on reflection. In D. J. Boud, P. Cressey, & P. Docherty (Eds.), Productive reflection at work (pp. 133–145). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  28. Raehalme, O. (1999). The bank office as a learning environment. In P. Ruohotie, J. Honka, & A. Suvanto (Eds.), The developmental challenges in the cooperation of education and training and working life (pp. 71–80). Tampere: Edita.Google Scholar
  29. Reason, J. (1990). Human error. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Rybowiak, V., Garst, H., Frese, M., & Batinic, B. (1999). Error Orientation Questionnaire (EOQ): reliability, validity and different language equivalence. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 20, 527–547.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Strasser, J., & Gruber, H. (2005). Reflection and the development of psychological counsellors’ professional knowledge. In H. Gruber, C. Harteis, R. H. Mulder, & M. Rehrl (Eds.), Bridging individual, organisational, and cultural perspectives on professional learning (pp. 221–226). Regensburg: Roderer.Google Scholar
  32. Tjosvold, D., Yu, Z., & Hui, C. (2004). Team learning from mistakes: the contribution of cooperative goals and problem-solving. Journal of Management Studies, 41, 1223–1245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Van Dyck, C., Frese, M., Baer, M., & Sonnentag, S. (2005). Organizational error management culture and its impact on performance: a two-study replication. Journal of Applied Psychology, 90, 1228–1240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Van Woerkom, M. (2003). Critical reflection at work. Bridging individual and organisational learning. Enschede: PrintPartners.Google Scholar
  35. Zhao, B., & Olivera, F. (2006). Error reporting in organizations. Academy of Management Review, 31, 1012–1030.Google Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations