Are all errors created equal?: Testing the effects of error characteristics on learning from errors in three countries

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Errors can be a source of learning. However, little is known to what extent learning from errors depends on error characteristics and the context in which the error was made. We tested the assumption that more learning occurs from errors with severe consequences and when the error was made by oneself. We further investigated if and how learning from errors and organizational error culture differs between countries. In two vignette studies (Study 1, N = 118 from the United States; Study 2, N = 588 from the United States, Hungary, and Germany), participants responded to error scenarios that happened to employees at work. As expected, people learned more from errors in terms of affective error learning (Studies 1 and 2) and cognitive error learning (Study 1) if consequences were severe and if the error was made by themselves. Furthermore, we found differences between countries (Study 2) in that participants from the United States learned more from errors and reported more error management culture than participants from Hungary or Germany. Furthermore, the relationship of country and learning was mediated by error management culture. With our studies, we aim to contribute to a better exploitation of the learning potential inherent in errors.
ZeitschriftThe European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology
Anzahl der Seiten15
PublikationsstatusElektronische Veröffentlichung vor Drucklegung - 02.11.2020