Research on Human Fallibility and Learning from Errors at Work: Challenges for Theory, Research, and Practice

  • Christian Harteis
  • Johannes Bauer
  • Helmut Heid
Part of the Professional and Practice-based Learning book series (PPBL, volume 6)


This reader comprises articles that demonstrate human fallibility and the necessity to learn from errors in daily work. The book is an attempt to bring together several lines of research in order to sketch the current state of that research on learning from errors in work contexts. The public memory is filled with many examples of catastrophic events in working life (e.g. the accident at Chernobyl, the sinking of the Titanic, the chemical accident in the Sandoz plant in Basel), which all initiated public discussions about the role of human error in their occurrence (Dörner, 1989). However, the issue of learning from errors has gained less public awareness. In the context of quality management systems, enterprises have developed strategies for avoiding errors (Hackman & Wageman, 1995), but reality always corroborates the insight that errors cannot be avoided totally in complex settings (e.g. Vester, 2007). Hence, learning from errors matters for organising daily working life, and, it thus matters for research on professional and workplace learning. The chapters in this book discuss theoretical concepts and empirical analyses of learning from errors in work settings. They enter an intriguing area of educational and psychological research in two respects:


Error Case Quality Management System Work Context Workplace Learning Error Orientation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht  2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christian Harteis
    • 1
  • Johannes Bauer
    • 2
  • Helmut Heid
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of Educational ScienceUniversity of PaderbornPaderbornGermany
  2. 2.TUM School of EducationTechnische Universität München (TUM)MunichGermany
  3. 3.Institute for Educational ScienceUniversity of RegensburgRegensburgGermany

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