ArticlePDF Available

Systematic Reflection: Implications for Learning From Failures and Successes


Abstract and Figures

Drawing on a growing stream of empirical findings that runs across different psychological domains, we demonstrated that systematic reflection stands out as a prominent tool for learning from experience. For decades, failed experiences have been considered the most powerful learning sources. Despite the theoretical and practical relevance, few researchers have investigated whether people can also learn from their successes. We showed that through systematic reflection, people can learn from both their successes and their failures. Studies have further shown that the effectiveness of systematic reflection depends on situational (e.g., reflection focus) and person-based (e.g., conscientiousness) factors. Given today's unrelenting pace and the abundance of activities in which people are involved, future researchers may want to investigate how to effectively integrate systematic reflection within the busy daily environment of the learner.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Systematic Reflection: Implications for Learning from Failures and Successes
Shmuel Ellis1, 2
Tel Aviv University
Bernd Carette2, Frederik Anseel, and Filip Lievens
Ghent University
Paper published in Current Directions in Psychological Science:
*Ellis, S., *Carette, B., Anseel, F., & Lievens, F. (2014). Systematic reflection: Implications
for learning from successes and failures. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 23,
(* First two authors contributed equally)
1 Address correspondence to Shmuel Ellis, Recanati Business School, Tel Aviv University,
Ramat Aviv, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel, email:
2 First and second author contributed equally to this paper.
Shmuel Ellis (
Recanati Business School
Tel Aviv University
Ramat Aviv
Tel Aviv 69978
Bernd Carette (
Department of Personnel Management, Work and Organizational Psychology
Ghent University
Henri Dunantlaan, 2
9000 Ghent
Frederik Anseel (
Department of Personnel Management, Work and Organizational Psychology
Ghent University
Henri Dunantlaan, 2
9000 Ghent
Filip Lievens (
Department of Personnel Management, Work and Organizational Psychology
Ghent University
Henri Dunantlaan, 2
9000 Ghent
Drawing on a growing stream of empirical findings that runs across different psychological
domains, we demonstrate that systematic reflection stands out as a prominent tool for learning
from experience. For decades, failed experiences have been considered the most powerful
learning sources. Despite the theoretical and practical relevance, scant research has
investigated whether people can also learn from their successes. We show that through
systematic reflection people can learn from both their successes and failures. Studies have
further shown that the effectiveness of systematic reflection depends on situational (e.g.,
reflection focus) and person-based factors (e.g., conscientiousness). Given today’s unrelenting
pace and the abundance of activities in which people are involved, future research may want
to investigate how to effectively integrate systematic reflection within the busy daily
environment of the learner.
KEYWORDS: reflection learning successes failures performance
Systematic Reflection: Implications for Learning from Failures and Successes
"We learn from failure, not from success!" In Bram Stoker’s classic novel ‘Dracula’
(1897), these were the words of Professor Van Helsing to Dr. Seward. It is not only
conventional wisdom that we learn most from failures and mistakes. For decades,
psychologists have considered failures as the most powerful learning sources. According to
Thorndike’s law of effect, negative outcomes that accompany failure serve as punishment,
increasing the probability of adapted behavior in subsequent events. Furthermore, traditional
attribution theories have posited that people who are capable of attributing failure to personal
and controllable factors (e.g., limited effort) learn the most (Weiner, 2000).
It is remarkable that scant research attention has been paid to the question whether
people can also learn from their successes. Learning from successes is not only vital from a
theoretical point of view, it also has substantial practical relevance. For instance, in high-risk
environments (e.g., nuclear power, hospital or aviation industry), failure can mean maiming,
disability, and huge environmental, financial, societal, and psychological costs. Hence, it is
key that people are also able to learn from their successes before disasters take place. Despite
the motivational benefits successes may have (e.g., increased belief in one’s competence;
Hall, 1971), they also confirm prior expectancies and boost confidence in old routines,
causing restricted search and reduced attention, while increasing complacency and risk
aversion (Sitkin, 1992; Zakay, Ellis, & Shevalsky, 2004).
The objective of our review is to highlight systematic reflection as an effective tool for
learning from both failed and successful experiences. In the following section, we introduce
systematic reflection as a learning procedure, after which we draw on a growing stream of
findings that runs across different psychological domains to empirically substantiate its
effectiveness. Subsequently, we review research that has sought to determine situational and
person-based moderators that shape the effectiveness of systematic reflection. We end by
discussing future research prospects.
Systematic Reflection: Concept and Process
Systematic reflection is a learning procedure during which learners comprehensively
analyze their behavior and evaluate the contribution of its components to performance
outcomes. To facilitate this comprehensive processing of experiential data, Ellis and Davidi
(2005) emphasized that systematic reflection serves three functions: self-explanation, data
verification, and feedback. Systematic reflection requires individuals or teams to engage in
each one of these activities.
Self-explanation is an active process whereby learners are asked to analyze their own
behavior and advance explanations for the resulting success or failure. A high number of self-
explanations indicates active processes of gathering, analyzing, and integrating data (Ellis &
Davidi, 2005). Questions that might prompt self-explanation are "how did you contribute to
the performance observed in the experience" and "how effective were you in this experience"
(DeRue et al., 2012), but also more direct questions such as "why did you do A or decide B?".
The relative advantage of these direct questions is that they encourage learners to provide
specific and internal explanations. The more learners attribute performance to specific and
internal factors, the more effective is the reflection process (Ellis, Mendel, & Nir, 2006). In
lay terms, accurate analysis of the experience is an important factor in the learning process,
but this is not the only one. By attributing the causes for successes and failures to oneself,
people take more responsibility for their behavior.
Data verification is the process whereby learners are confronted with a different
perception of the same data (i.e., counterfactual thinking), enabling them to cross-validate
information they hold before making changes to their mental models. Data verification also
enables to sidestep potential biases, including confirmation bias, whereby information that
contradicts assumptions is overlooked, and hindsight bias, whereby outcomes strongly affect
how past experience is viewed. Possible prompts include "consider a different approach that
could have been taken" and "what might have happened if that approach was chosen" (DeRue
et al., 2012). Similarly, comparing and contrasting personal actions with similar actions
played out in other (more or less successful) situations may be an effective way for
developing a different perspective on the value of one’s actions (Roberto, 2009).
Finally, two kinds of feedback are generated during a systematic reflection process.
The first type is the performance evaluation: absolute/relative success or failure. Such
outcome feedback does not only serve as a motivational trigger for the reflection process;
without outcome feedback, reflection is not focused and goal directed and therefore not
effective (Anseel, Lievens, & Schollaert, 2009). Second, process feedback is generated which
is aimed at improving the process of task performance. When systematically reflecting, the
learner is responsible for the analysis of his/her performance data and for generating reasons
why things went right or wrong. Possible prompts are "what worked, what did not work",
"what has been learned from the experience", and "how will you behave in the future?"
(DeRue et al., 2012). Taken together, systematic reflection is not the same as outcome
feedback moments. Whereas outcome feedback is merely evaluative in nature, the process
that follows this feedback in a reflection procedure focuses on helping the learner to
systematically analyze the decisions that produced the performance outcomes.
Effectiveness of Systematic Reflection
Generally, the combination of the three functions that characterize systematic
reflection (self-explanation, data verification, and feedback) lead to a greater willingness
(motivational effect) and ability to draw lessons from prior experiences (cognitive effect) and
eventually to a behavioral change (behavioral effect).
Motivational Outcomes of Systematic Reflection
Successful experience is not a "natural" stimulus of learning. Although successes may
improve learners’ judgment of how well they can execute similar courses of action for dealing
with prospective situations (i.e., self-efficacy), they also reduce one’s inclination to revise
existing knowledge structures. The motivational impact of systematic reflection on these
successes is twofold. First, research in military psychology found that systematic reflection is
most effective to attract soldiers’ attention not only to the obvious failed experiences
encountered during navigation exercises but also to successful experiences. Through
becoming aware of the role these less apparent successful experiences have had on one’s
performance, learners’ motivation to revise their knowledge structures (i.e., epistemic
motivation) may be intensified (Ellis & Davidi, 2005). Similarly, in experimental social
psychological research, it has been shown that the prompt to not only consider better, but also
worse alternatives for what actually happened (leading to a focus on successful experiences)
can have a beneficial impact on an individual’s motivation to thoroughly process a subsequent
task (Dyczewski & Markman, 2012). Second, through analyzing their successful experiences,
learners become more aware of their share in the successes, further increasing their self-
efficacy and motivation to set higher goals (Anton & Villado, 2013; Ellis, Ganzach, Castle, &
Sekely, 2010).
Cognitive Outcomes of Systematic Reflection
Increased epistemic motivation caused by reflecting on both failed and successful
experiences has been found to produce richer cognitive structures (Ellis & Davidi, 2005;
Matthew & Sternberg, 2009). Research in sport and organizational psychology has shown that
systematic reflection changes the relative number of internal versus external and specific
versus general perceived causes of behavior (Allen, Jones, & Sheffield, 2010; Ellis et al.,
2006). Similar findings were found in aviation psychology, where post-flight reviews
following a successful flight or a close call yield specific lessons for navigating future flights
(Morris & Moore, 2000; Ron, Lipshitz, & Popper, 2006). On a team level, reflection enhances
similarity of team members’ task representations (van Ginkel & van Knippenberg, 2009). The
realization that task representations are shared has been shown to increase psychological
safety, which enhances group processes (Edmondson, 1999).
Behavioral Outcomes of Systematic Reflection
In organizational, social, and medical psychology, reflecting on successful and failed
experiences has been found to improve task performance (e.g., Anseel et al., 2009; Ellis &
Davidi, 2005; Ellis et al., 2006; Kray, Galinsky, & Markman, 2009; Vashdi, Bamberger, Erez,
& Weiss-Meilik, 2007; Wong, Haselhuhn, & Kray, 2012), and to cause changes in
interpersonal behavior (e.g., DeRue et al., 2012; Grant & Dutton, 2012; Van Ginkel & Van
Knippenberg, 2009; Villado & Arthur, 2013).
Ron et al. (2006) demonstrated that post-flight reviews were not only vehicles to
improve individuals' learning, but also to improve air crews' performance via shared
observations and interpretations of what went good and bad during the flights. This reflection
procedure also shaped the training methods of the squadron, and even helped to develop the
air force doctrine.
When and For Whom is Systematic Reflection Most Effective?
An important stream of research has sought to determine under which conditions
systematic reflection is most developmental. Learners can reflect on objective, video-based
recordings or on subjective, memory-based recalls of their performance. Research has
revealed that these ways of reflecting are equally effective (Villado & Arthur, 2013).
Similarly, Ellis et al. (2010) showed that observing the filmed behavior of someone else who
participated in a reflection procedure is equally effective as personally participating in a
reflection procedure. These findings are especially relevant for contexts where different
individuals need to learn similar tasks. For instance, members of a fire brigade can learn from
events that their colleagues have experienced, simply by watching their reflection processes.
In this respect, filmed reviews may offer a cost-effective, technology-based, and easy-to-use
tool to provide training.
Ellis et al. (2006) demonstrated that the effectiveness of reflecting on successful
versus failed experiences may depend on the focus of reflection during the self-explanation
stage. They examined the relative effectiveness of three different reflection foci after a failed
or successful experience: a focus on (1) correct actions that supported progress in the
experience, (2) erroneous actions that hindered progress, and (3) both correct and erroneous
actions. Besides the fact that after a failed experience, providing any kind of reflection
contributes to one’s progress, the results also showed that one can learn from successful
experiences and that the performance improvement after failed and successful experiences is
contingent upon the particular focus of reflection (see Figure 1).
Figure 1. Comparison of the effectiveness of three different reflection foci after a failed
versus successful experience. The effect size (Cohen’s d) represents the standardized
performance difference between participation versus no participation in a reflection
procedure. Effect sizes of d = 0.2, 0.5, and 0.8 are generally considered small, medium, and
large, respectively (Cohen, 1988).
After a failed experience the biggest performance improvement takes place when
focusing on both correct and erroneous actions. However, after a successful experience the
strongest learning effect emerges when reflecting on the erroneous actions only. It could be
that after successful experiences, learners feel more psychologically safe to discuss their
errors. Conversely, after failures, self-efficacy may be harmed and psychological safety may
be lacking, requiring reflection on correct actions as well. Hence, through reflection we can
learn from both successful and failed experiences, but the focus of reflection should be
adapted to the outcome of the experience.
Apart from research on situation-based moderators, it is likely that people who go
through the same reflection process draw different lessons. The reflection effect is
accentuated when people are conscientious, open to experience, emotionally stable, and have
a rich base of prior experiences (DeRue et al., 2012). Furthermore, systematic reflection is
more effective for learning oriented people, and for people who enjoy effortful cognitive
activity (Anseel et al., 2009). Likewise, people who can accurately evaluate their performance
benefit more from systematic reflection (Ellis, Mendel & Aloni-Zohar, 2009; Ellis et al.,
2010). This also means that systematic reflection is likely to be less beneficial for people with
the reverse personal characteristics.
Future Research Prospects
Although important progress has been made to uncover the role, effectiveness and
boundary conditions of systematic reflection, there also exist key unresolved issues. We
outlined three central functions in which learners should engage when reflecting (self-
explanation, data verification, and feedback). To date, the outcomes of these functions have
not been disentangled from each other. This makes it unclear whether all functions contribute
to the same extent to the effectiveness of reflection. Also, their relative functionality may
depend on the outcome of the experience that is reflected upon. For instance, Ellis and Davidi
(2005) suggested that if learners want to analyze successful performance, they must focus on
the potential misfits between the existing mental model and the conditions under which
performance was executed, highlighting the importance of data verification for learning from
successes. Conversely, as people are naturally inclined to attribute successes to internal
actions and failures to external factors (self-serving bias), self-explanation instructions may be
more important when reflecting on failed experiences.
Another challenging issue is motivational in nature. Despite the promising effects of
systematic reflection, for most individuals reflection is probably the least favorite activity
(Ashford & DeRue, 2012). This may be caused by the unrelenting pace characterizing today’s
environment and the abundance of activities in which people are involved. As reflection is a
time-intensive endeavor, being engaged in too many experiences simultaneously typically
jeopardizes individuals’ inclination to engage in thoughtful deliberation of these experiences,
leading to lower levels of learning than desirable (Carette & Anseel, 2012). Hence, we need to
look for ways that enhance individuals’ motivation to engage in reflection despite their high
mental workload.
An interesting pathway would be to complement traditional collective reflection that
takes place when a long-term project is finished, with individual reflection that is integrated
within the learner’s daily environment (e.g., reflection via smartphone/tablet applications that
successively prompt for self-explanation, data verification, and feedback). For instance, in the
absence of collective "chalk talks" during the off-season, athletes could use such an app to
individually reflect on their training performance. Similarly, organizations could send
monthly invitations to their employees for reflecting online on personal actions of the past
month that supported/hindered progress in their most time-intensive assignment. Findings
from experimental simulation research have shown that such relatively brief structured
individual reflection yields significant returns for one’s development (Anseel et al., 2009).
Furthermore, such implementations would make it possible to reflect solitarily and on the
spot, diminishing the situational constraints that characterize collective reflection procedures.
All of this may facilitate a structural incorporation of reflection into the learner’s environment
making reflection a routine rather than a momentary activity which is a necessary
precondition to maintain long-term effects (Garvin, 2000).
In this article, we reviewed new studies that introduce systematic reflection as a
meaningful way to draw lessons from our successful and failed experiences and improve our
performance accordingly. Finding ways to learn from various forms of experience is
important from both a theoretical and practical point of view. It also exemplifies that
Professor Van Helsing was only partly right. We can learn from our failures, but we can also
learn from our successes.
Suggested Readings
Anseel, F., Lievens, F., & Schollaert, E. (See References). Two experimental studies
exploring the effectiveness of unguided reflection and identifying situational and
person-based moderators.
Bauer, J., & Harteis, C. (2012). Human Fallibility: The ambiguity of errors for work and
learning. Dordrecht, the Netherlands: Springer. A comprehensive overview of
research on learning from errors.
Baumeister, R. F., Masicampo, E. J., & Vohs, K. D. (2011). Do conscious thoughts cause
behavior? Annual Review of Psychology, 62, 331-361. A comprehensive, highly
accessible overview of what is known about the behavioral consequences of conscious
information processing.
DeRue, D. S., Nahrgang, J. D., Hollenbeck, J. R., & Workman, K. M. (See References). A
longitudinal experimental field study following MBA-students over a period of 9
months and showing that regular systematic reflection facilitates the development of
interpersonal skills.
Ellis, S., & Davidi, I. (See References). An experimental field study demonstrating that
systematic reflection influences learners’ mental models and performance.
Allen, M. S., Jones, M. V., & Sheffield, D. (2010). The influence of positive reflection on
attributions, emotions, and self-efficacy. Sport Psychologist, 24, 211-226.
Anseel, F., Lievens, F., & Schollaert, E. (2009). Reflection as a strategy to enhance task
performance after feedback. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes,
110, 23-35.
Ashford, S. J., & DeRue, D. S. (2012). Developing as a leader: The power of mindful
engagement. Organizational Dynamics, 41, 146-154.
Carette, B., & Anseel, F. (2012). Epistemic motivation is what gets the learner started.
Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice, 5,
Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.). Hillsdale,
NJ: Erlbaum.
DeRue, D. S., Nahrgang, J. D., Hollenbeck, J. R., & Workman, K. M. (2012). A quasi-
experimental study of after-event reviews and leadership development. Journal of
Applied Psychology, 97, 997-1015.
Dyczewski, E. A., & Markman, K. D. (2012). General attainability beliefs moderate the
motivational effects of counterfactual thinking. Journal of Experimental Social
Psychology, 48, 1217-1220.
Edmondson, A. (1999) Psychological safety and learning behavior in work teams.
Administrative Science Quarterly, 44, 350-383.
Ellis, S., & Davidi, I. (2005). After-event reviews: Drawing lessons from successful and failed
experience. Journal of Applied Psychology, 90, 857-871.
Ellis, S., Ganzach, Y., Castle, E., & Sekely, G. (2010). The effect of filmed versus personal
after-event reviews on task performance: The mediating and moderating role of self-
efficacy. Journal of Applied Psychology, 95, 122-131.
Ellis, S., Mendel, M., & Aloni-Zohar, M. (2009). The effect of accuracy of performance
evaluation on learning from experience: The moderating role of after-event reviews.
Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 39, 541-563.
Ellis, S., Mendel, R., & Nir, M. (2006). Learning from successful and failed experience: The
moderating role of kind of after-event review. Journal of Applied Psychology, 91, 669-
Garvin, D. A. (2000). Learning in action: A guide to putting the learning organization to
work. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
Grant, A. M., & Dutton, J. E. (2012). Beneficiary or benefactor: The effects of reflecting
about receiving versus giving on prosocial behavior. Psychological Science, 23, 1033-
Hall. D. T. (1971). A theoretical model of career subidentity development in organizational
settings. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 6, 50-76.
Kray, L. J., Galinsky, A. D., & Markman, K. D. (2009). Counterfactual structure and learning
from experience in negotiations. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45, 979-
Matthew, C. T., & Sternberg, R. J. (2009). Developing experience-based (tacit) knowledge
through reflection. Learning and Individual Differences, 19, 530-540.
Morris, M. W., & Moore, P. C. (2000). The lessons we (don't) learn: Counterfactual thinking
and organizational accountability after a close call. Administrative Science Quarterly,
45, 737-765.
Roberto, M. (2009). Know what you don’t know: How great leaders prevent problems before
they happen. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education/Prentice Hall.
Ron, N., Lipshitz, R., & Popper, M. (2006). How organizations learn: Post-flight reviews in
an F-16 fighter squadron. Organization Studies, 27, 1069-1089.
Sitkin, S. B. (1992). Learning through failure: The strategy of small losses. Research in
Organizational Behavior, 14, 231-266.
Van Ginkel, W. P., & Van Knippenberg, D. (2009). Knowledge about the distribution of
information and group decision making: When and why does it work? Organizational
Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 108, 218-229.
Vashdi, D. R., Bamberger, P. A., Erez, M., & Weiss-Meilik, A. (2007). Briefing-debriefing:
Using a reflexive organizational learning model from the military to enhance the
performance of surgical teams. Human Resource Management, 46, 115-142.
Villado, A. J., & Arthur, W. J. (2013). The comparative effects of subjective and objective
after-action reviews on team performance on a complex task. Journal of Applied
Psychology. Advance online publication.
Weiner, B. (2000). Intrapersonal and interpersonal theories of motivation from an
attributional perspective. Educational Psychology Review, 12, 1-14.
Wong, E. M., Haselhuhn, M. P., & Kray, L. J. (2012). Improving the future by considering
the past: The impact of upward counterfactual reflection and implicit beliefs on
negotiation performance. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48, 403-406.
Zakay, D., Ellis, S., & Shevalsky, M. (2004). Outcome value and early warning indications as
determinants of willingness to learn from experience. Experimental Psychology, 51,
... It has gradually developed into a more efficient and autonomous learning model and has become an indispensable educational and learning tool for many professionals [16]. Many experts suggest that the implementation of reflective learning can improve students' critical thinking [17], insight [18], empathic concern [19], computational thinking [20], and other skills, and this improvement of a variety of thinking modes and abilities will eventually lead to improvement of their CPS skills [21]. Our research on the factors affecting the CPS skills is based on reflective learning. ...
... Critical thinking often occurs at the same time as CPS skills and is one of the core objectives of general education in all subjects of higher education [29]. Critical thinking, closely related to reflective learning [17], which has been emphasized in many studies, especially in the implementation of learning strategies including reflective learning. In problembased learning and case-based learning, instructors encourage learners to use critical reflection to engage with subject matter and to develop their own practice in closing any knowledge gaps that may exist [31]. ...
... In the process of reflection, this mode of thinking requires us to think critically and center on the results. Reflective learning, also known as critical reflection [17], emphasizes the use of critical thinking. Many critics affirm the results of critical reflection [91][92][93]. ...
Full-text available
Background The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development emphasizes the importance of complex problem-solving (CPS) skills in the 21st century. CPS skills have been linked to academic performance, career development, and job competency training. Reflective learning, which includes journal writing, peer reflection, selfreflection, and group discussion, has been explored to improve critical thinking and problem-solving abilities. The development of various thinking modes and abilities, such as algorithmic thinking, creativity, and empathic concern, all affect problem-solving skills. However, there is a lack of an overall theory to relate variables to each other, which means that different theories need to be integrated to focus on how CPS skills can be effectively trained and improved. Methods Data from 136 medical students were analyzed using partial least square structural equation modeling (PLSSEM) and fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA). A hypothesized model examining the associations between the CPS skills and influence factors was constructed. Results The evaluation of the structural model showed that some variables had significant influences on CPS skills, while others did not. After deleting the insignificant pathways, a structural model was built, which showed that mediating effects of empathic concern and critical thinking were observed, while personal distress only had a direct effect on CPS skills. The results of necessity showed that only cooperativity and creativity are necessary conditions for critical thinking. The fsQCA analysis provided clues for each different pathway to the result, with all consistency values being higher than 0.8, and most coverage values being between 0.240 and 0.839. The fsQCA confirmed the validity of the model and provided configurations that enhanced the CPS skills. Conclusions This study provides evidence that reflective learning based on multi-dimensional empathy theory and 21 stcentury skills theory can improve CPS skills in medical students. These results have practical implications for learning and suggest that educators should consider incorporating reflective learning strategies that focus on empathy and 21 stcentury skills to enhance CPS skills in their curricula.
... The term systematic reflection (Ellis et al., 2014) refers to a structured procedure in which people (i) analyze what they have done, (ii) evaluate their performance, (iii) determine which behaviors had a positive impact on their performance outcomes and which behaviors had a negative impact, and (iv) plan how to improve. The structure of this procedure is often provided by asking a person or group to answer a series of questions. ...
... Those questions are generally designed to structure reflection on 'knowledge, values, behavior and practice' (Pammer-Schindler and Prilla, 2021). Previous research has found that asking people to systematically reflect on their behavior can boost their subsequent performance (Ellis et al., 2014). For instance, Anseel et al. (2009) found that asking people to reflect on what they did correctly and what they did wrong in a simulated management task significantly increased their subsequent performance on the second instance of the same management task. ...
... Much is known about when and how much systematic reflection on behavior improves subsequent behavior (Ellis et al., 2014), and about helping students reflect on and regulate their study behavior through prompting and learning analytics (e.g., Azevedo, 2005;Azevedo et al., 2012;Bannert et al., 2009;Bannert and Reimann, 2012;Hilliger et al., 2020). However, there is virtually no research on the potential benefits of guiding people to systematically reflect on their decision-making strategies. ...
Full-text available
Short-sighted decisions can have devastating consequences, and teaching people to make their decisions in a more far-sighted way is challenging. Previous research found that reflecting on one’s behavior can boost learning from success and failure. Here, we explore the potential benefits of guiding people to reflect on whether and how they thought about what to do (i.e., systematic metacognitive reflection ). We devised a series of Socratic questions that prompt people to reflect on their decision-making and tested their effectiveness in a process-tracing experiment with a 5-step planning task ( $N=265$ ). Each participant went through several cycles of making a series of decisions and then either reflecting on how they made those decisions, answering unrelated questions, or moving on to the next decision right away. We found that systematic metacognitive reflection helps people discover adaptive, far-sighted decision strategies faster. Our results suggest that systematic metacognitive reflection is a promising approach to boosting people’s decision-making competence.
... As shown by Ellis et al. [131], amongst others, experience with failures and successes is a major source of improvement when reflection is used. They comment that the success of systematic reflection, and 'sense making' [3] depends on situational factors. ...
... As noted earlier, some researchers advocate the use of diaries in enhancing 'objectively informed intuition' [46,131,135] using the strategies referred to in EBL. This involves recording the background to a decision, the nature and details of the decision, the results stemming from the decision and then a pro-active analysis of the whole experience reflecting on the errors and improvements for enhancing future decisions. ...
Full-text available
Business decisions are frequently based on informed intuition in contrast to a formal analysis. Early man used simple intuition, but through time knowledge increases allowed decision makers (DMs) to move to ‘objectively informed intuition’ (OII). This uses inherent and learnt cognition at both unconscious and conscious levels. A model of business OII is proposed and evaluated using as variables the managers’ personal characteristics and their unique set of objectives. The resultant equation allows assessing decision quality and provides a framework for DMs to work on improvements relative to their objectives. The literature suggests OII stems from a DM’s makeup (business related phenotype), training and experience in a dynamic trio leading to the defining equation. Analyses show business related phenotype is the most important determinant as well as confirming the proposed theory on the determinants of OII success. Practical methods of improving OII are reviewed, and issues worth further investigation outlined. This research is the first encompassing quantitative relationships explaining business OII quality thus enabling improving OII. Suggested further research may refine the equation and expand its core base. This work involves a range of disciplines as different aspects of human characteristics impact on how decisions are made.
... We employed a modified scale from Rosenberg (1965) to measure member's momentary self-esteem. We also modified the scale of systematic reflection scale proposed by Ellis et al (2014) to measure member's momentary self-reflection. Finally, members reported voice behaviour using the scale proposed by Liu et al (2017). ...
... Here, surfaces the notion of resilience oriented knowledge creation, acquisition, sharing and application (exploration and exploitation), that acts as the prerequisite for adaptive resilience (Siegel & Schraagen, 2017). Knowledge discovering and executing teams deploy their keen end refection (Ellis, Carette, Anseel & Lievens, 2014). Moreover, for increasing organizational resilience, these teams must create socio-material imbrication and entanglement in order to bind both implicit and explicit knowledge (Rasmussen, 1997). ...
Full-text available
The paper seeks to examine the effect of knowledge management on resilience and performance of emergent financial technology startups (Fintechs) in Lahore, Pakistan through the development of dynamic capabilities when confronted with environmental dynamism. Based on the tentative deductions derived from Dynamic Capability View (DCV) of emergent financial sector ventures, this paper employs Partial Least Square for Structured Equation Modeling to investigate these hypotheses. Sample of current cross-sectional study involves empirical analysis performed on primary data assembled from knowledge workers employed in emergent financial technology startups. Knowledge management practices also have a positive impact on the developing dynamic capabilities of the organization. Implementation of effective knowledge management practices results in reconfiguring and advancing the companies’ dynamic competencies under the conditions of dynamism and unexpected changes occurring in the external business environment. Consequently, fin-techs succeed in accomplishing their goals of spirit, adaptive capacity i.e. increased resilience and escalated performance.
Purpose Based on social information processing theory, this paper aims to explore how and when leader self-deprecating humor may spark subordinate learning from failure. The authors cast perspective taking as a novel explanatory mechanism for this indirect effect, and further consider leader–member exchange as a boundary condition of the relationship. Design/methodology/approach The authors tested the hypotheses by conducting a multiwave and multisource survey of 604 members from 152 teams in a Chinese high-technology company. Findings Results of multilevel path analyses demonstrate that leader self-deprecating humor positively influences subordinate learning from failure via perspective taking. Further, this mediation effect is stronger at higher levels of leader–member exchange. Research limitations/implications This study contributes to the theoretical understanding of the relationship between leader self-deprecating humor and subordinate learning from failure. However, the research design was not longitudinal or experimental, and thus the authors were unable to make strong inferences about absolute causality. Practical implications The work yields useful insights for practitioners aiming to encourage subordinates to learn from failure. Originality/value This study provides evidence that leader self-deprecating humor can stimulate subordinate learning from failure via perspective taking, and the indirect effect is further strengthened by leader–member exchange. The findings offer new directions for research on leader self-deprecating humor and learning from failure.
Failure is the pathway to transformation. Employing reflective strategies within the three primary domains of knowledge enhances the learning process amidst failure. Where the suffering of failure can seem traumatic, systematic reflection enables learners to comprehensively analyze their behavior and evaluate its contribution to performance outcomes, resulting in posttraumatic growth and transformative results. Failure, of any kind, need not have the final word.
The study tested an extension of a promising adaptive self‐reflective approach to resilience training. The extension integrated resilience training content in routine workplace activities via supervisors. Participants were military cadets (N = 168), randomized by platoon into two conditions. The control condition received the original self‐reflective resilience training only (n = 85), and the intervention condition additionally received a supervisor‐led extension of this programme (n = 83). Participants completed assessments of depression and anxiety symptoms and perceived stress at four time points over five months. Cadet performance scores were also obtained. Findings indicated that participants receiving the supervisor‐led extension demonstrated better psychological outcomes earlier than cadets in the control condition. However, at Time 4 both interventions had equivalent levels of mental health outcomes and perceived stress. The supervisor‐led condition demonstrated better average performance than the control condition for the performance measure congruent to the workplace activity in which the extension was applied. Mechanisms for the effectiveness of the supervisor‐led extension were explored. Analysis suggested that perceived supervisor support for the individual mediated the intervention–psychological outcome relationship. This research demonstrates the effectiveness of a scalable resilience intervention and speaks to a role of supervisors in facilitating resilience via supportive interactions.
Full-text available
Reflecting on previous experiences and considering how things could have been better (upward counterfactual reflection) is central to learning. While researchers have identified a number of situational antecedents to upward counterfactual generation, less is known about individual differences in counterfactual reflection. We address this gap by considering how implicit beliefs regarding the fixedness or malleability of basic characteristics influence counterfactual generation. In a negotiation context, we show that individuals who believe that negotiation ability is changeable are more likely to consider how things could have been better following a negotiation experience compared to individuals who believe that negotiation ability is fixed. We further demonstrate the impact of upward counterfactual reflection on learning and performance: Negotiators who hold malleable beliefs are better able to discover creative agreements that benefit both parties in a negotiation, and these performance differences are mediated by upward counterfactual generation.
Full-text available
This paper presents a model of team learning and tests it in a multimethod field study. It introduces the construct of team psychological safety—a shared belief held by members of a team that the team is safe for interpersonal risk taking—and models the effects of team psychological safety and team efficacy together on learning and performance in organizational work teams. Results of a study of 51 work teams in a manufacturing company, measuring antecedent, process, and outcome variables, show that team psychological safety is associated with learning behavior, but team efficacy is not, when controlling for team psychological safety. As predicted, learning behavior mediates between team psychological safety and team performance. The results support an integrative perspective in which both team structures, such as context support and team leader coaching, and shared beliefs shape team outcomes.
Full-text available
We investigate how individuals learn from imagined might-have-been scenarios. We hypothesize that individuals are more likely to learn when they have responded to an event with upward-directed, self-focused counterfactual thoughts, and, additionally, that this learning process is inhibited by accountability to organizational superiors. Support for these hypotheses was obtained in two studies that assessed learning by aviation pilots from the experience of near accidents. Study 1 analyzed counterfactual thoughts and lessons in narrative reports filed by experienced pilots after actual dangerous aviation incidents. Study 2 involved laboratory experiments in which college students operated a flight simulator under different conditions of organizational accountability.
Full-text available
Previous research has demonstrated that upward counterfactuals generated in response to less than optimal outcomes on repeatable tasks are more motivating than are downward counterfactuals. In the present work, however, it was hypothesized that upward counterfactuals should only be motivating to the extent that one believes that improvement is generally attainable. By contrast, it was hypothesized that upward counterfactuals should actually diminish motivation and downward counterfactuals should enhance motivation to the extent that one believes that improvement is generally unattainable. In support of these hypotheses, the results of two studies indicated that incremental theorists (who believe that intelligence-related abilities are malleable) displayed greater motivation and enhanced performance in response to upward as compared to downward counterfactuals, whereas entity theorists (who believe that intelligence-related abilities are fixed) displayed greater motivation and enhanced performance in response to downward as compared to upward counterfactuals.
The purpose of this study was to explore the influence of postcompetition positive reflection on attributions, emotions, and self-efficacy. Following a golf putting competition, participants (n = 80) were randomly assigned to either an experimental or control group. In the experimental group participants completed a modified version of the performance evaluation sheet (Holder, 1997). In the control group participants completed the concentration grid exercise (Harris & Harris, 1984). All participants subsequently completed measures of causal attribution, emotion, and self-efficacy. Findings showed that participants in the experimental condition made attributions that were significantly more internal and personally controllable than participants in the control group irrespective of competition outcome. No differences were observed between groups on measures of emotion and self-efficacy. This study suggests that reflecting back on positive elements of performance is a useful strategy for developing desirable attributions in sport performers, but may not necessarily promote self-efficacy or positive emotions.