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,
... However, past research has established valuable learning opportunities from the new techniques' experiential phase and failures (McGrath, 1999;Ellis et al., 2014). A different set of scholars have highlighted the stress of learning new techniques, and being a painful experience of adopting new practices and technologies threatens an employee' positive image (Edmondson, 2004) in a team or organization, driving taking a defensive stance when it comes to adopting (Kushwaha et al., 2020a, b, c) new techniques or technologies (Taylor, 1991). ...
... These experiential learnings will lead to overall growth in an employee's knowledge and success, leading to the overall team and the firm's success. Because these theories (Sitkin, 1992) (Ellis et al., 2014;Kolb, 2015) are focused on individual learnings, they disregard the social structure and the fear of maintaining a positive image in an employee social network in an organization (Reynolds & Vince, 2004;Argote & Miron-Spektor, 2011;KC et al., 2013). However, experiential learning by adopting AI within a business organization's social context has not been researched so far. ...
... H9:There is a positive relationship, and personal growth significantly drives overall adoption experiences of AI in an organization from employees' standpoint Experiential Learning Scholars have established experiential learning through experimentations as research performed by employees on new technology as critical steps in the organizations' quest to adopt any technology (Sitkin, 1992;Ellis et al., 2014;Kolb, 2015). However, these organizational theories for adoption disregard the social structure and the fear of maintaining a positive image in an employee social network in an organization (Reynolds & Vince, 2004;Argote & Miron-Spektor, 2011;KC et al., 2013). ...
Full-text available
Data-driven predictions have become an inseparable part of business decisions. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has started helping the product and support teams perform more accurate experiments in various business settings. This study proposes a framework for businesses based on inductive learnings related to success and barriers shared on social media platforms. Our goal is to analyse the signals emerging from these conversational opinions from the early adoption of AI, with a focus towards facilitators and barriers faced by teams. Factors like efficiency, innovation, business research, product novelty, manual intervention, adaptability, emotion, support, personal growth, experiential learning, fear of failure and fear of upgradation have been identified based on an exploratory study and then a confirmatory study. We present the learnings through a roadmap for practitioners. This study contributes to the IS literature by delineating AI as a determinant of success and introduces a lot of organizational factors into the model.
... Metacognition comprises the monitoring of reasoning, reasoning about reasoning (metareasoning), and the control of reasoning [6,7,21] and is an active research topic in both artificial intelligence and psychology [11,10]. The fact that we can direct to use different metacognitive strategies by simply asking them a series of questions [8] makes the human mind a convenient platform for research on the potential benefits of different forms of metareasoning. ...
... Although people have the capacity for metacognition, they do not always employ it. Furthermore, even when people engage in metacognition, what they learn depends on which aspects of their thinking they reflect on and how they reflect on it [8]. This raises the question which metacognitive strategies are most conducive to the discovery of clever cognitive strategies. ...
Full-text available
People are able to learn clever cognitive strategies through trial and error from small amounts of experience. This is facilitated by people's ability to reflect on their own thinking which is known as metacognition. To examine the effects of deliberate systematic metacognitive reflection on how people learn how to plan, the experimental group was guided to systematically reflect on their decision-making process after every third decision. We found that participants assisted by reflection prompts learned to plan better faster. Moreover, we found that reflection led to immediate improvements in the participants' planning strategies. Our preliminary results do suggest that deliberate metacognitive reflection can help people discover clever cognitive strategies from very small amounts of experience. Understanding the role of reflection in human learning is a promising approach for making reinforcement learning more sample efficient in both humans and machines.
... The way the reflective activities of the reflection class conducted in such a systematic and orderly routine added the list to similar reflective activities which were also conducted systematically documented in several previous studies. In Ellis, Carette, Anseel, & Lievens' (2014) study, for example, it was found that three kinds of activities, namely self-explanation, data verification, and feedback, were included in their version of systematic reflection. In Chetcuti's (2007) study, the preservice teachers were encouraged to be reflective by collecting artifacts and making reflections from them within a certain tutorial group. ...
... However, compared to the aforementioned studies, the procedure of the reflection class of the present study went the extra mile in terms of the steps. When the reflection activities reported in Ellis, Carette, Anseel, & Lievens' (2014), Chetcuti's (2007, and Körkkö's et al., (2016) studies stopped when the reflection was produced or concluded, the procedure followed by the reflection class of this study continued to the publication process. This made the written reflection resulted from the reflection class available to more readers beyond the participants and the facilitator of the reflection class. ...
Full-text available
To fill the gap and add literature on systematic reflections in the area of teacher identity developments, this research, which is a part of a larger case study, described how reflection class followed by pre-service teachers of English language in a teacher development program in Indonesia (PPG Pra-jabatan) was conducted. Using a single case study with embedded design and multiple data sources (observations, interviews, and document analysis), this research found that in its effort to help pre-service teachers’ identity development, the reflection class followed a certain procedure that comprises of two phases (i.e. reflection phase and publication preparation phase). In addition, this research also found some protocols that were adhered by the reflection class (i.e. involving social reflection, providing a safe and secure learning environment, feedback provision to the reflections, and giving appropriate prompts). This research recommends the teacher education and teacher professional development programs give more attention to how reflection is conducted. In particular, it is suggested that some protocols of conducting a good reflection are considered so that the pre-service teachers can make the most of the reflective activities.
... However, learning can be achieved through reflection on past behavior. Thus, reflection can be understood as key to learn a new behavior (Ellis, Carette, Anseel, & Lievens, 2014;Zimbardo & Gerrig, 2004). Darnton (2008) states that even if socio-psychological models do not make it explicit, reflection about previous behavior is a cornerstone to behavior change. ...
Full-text available
This working paper summarizes some behavioral (change) models that could be connected to sustainability transition themes. The intention was to provide this short overview as a starting point for researchers who do not have a background in behavioral science, but who aim to include behavioral science perspectives to sustainability transition research, including the energy transition.
... Probably, the best solution for both issues would be to find the right people -those who can leverage agile practices in the way that they are intended -at the stage of team building. Our discussion may be supplemented by a reference to Ellis et al. (2014) who stated that the effectiveness of systematic reflection depends on person-based factors and is higher for learning-oriented people who are conscientious and emotionally stable, can accurately evaluate their performance, and enjoy effortful cognitive activity. ...
Full-text available
In today’s fast-paced world of rapid technological change, software development teams need to constantly revise their work practices. Not surprisingly, regular reflection on how to become more effective is perceived as one of the most important principles of Agile Software Development. Nevertheless, running an effective and enjoyable retrospective meeting is still a challenge in real environments. As reported by several studies, the Sprint Retrospective is an agile practice most likely to be implemented improperly or sacrificed when teams perform under pressure to deliver. To facilitate the implementation of the practice, some agile coaches have proposed to set up retrospective meetings in the form of retrospective games. However, there has been little research-based evidence to support the positive effects of retrospective games. Our aim is to investigate whether the adoption of retrospective games can improve retrospective meetings in general and lead to positive societal outcomes. In this paper, we report on an Action Research project in which we implemented six retrospective games in six Scrum teams that had experienced common retrospective problems. The received feedback indicates that the approach helped the teams to mitigate many of the “accidental difficulties” pertaining to the Sprint Retrospective, such as lack of structure, dullness, too many complaints, or unequal participation and made the meetings more productive to some degree. Moreover, depending on their individual preferences, different participants perceived different games as having a positive impact on their communication, motivation-and-involvement, and/or creativity, even though there were others, less numerous, who had an opposite view. The advantages and disadvantages of each game as well as eight lessons learned are presented in the paper.
... To support this, members accumulate and evaluate information about the past, present and the future regarding goals, tasks, processes and strategies, and discuss this information with their peers (Konradt et al., 2016;Van Ginkel et al., 2009;West, 2000). This discursive aspect of a reflexive climate allows organizational members to cross-validate information by considering different perspectives (counterfactual thinking) and to actively seek feedback on performance outcomes and processes, thus enhancing systematic learning (Ellis et al., 2014;Schippers et al., 2014). New ideas are formed at the individual level. ...
Previous research has implicitly assumed that integration mechanisms are universally applicable to achieve ambidexterity. However, when pursuing ambidexterity, organizations of different sizes face different challenges when they attempt to foster integration, that is, cooperation and coordination. Therefore, we investigate whether small organizations can use a reflexive climate “to feel big”, and large organizations can use a transactive memory system “to feel small”. Using a sample of 101 companies in six industries, we show that both mechanisms positively affect ambidexterity. As hypothesized, a reflexive climate is more effective for small organizations. A transactive memory system, however, seems effective regardless of size.
... We intend to apply this change taxonomy to reflection within the coaching programme. Reflection is critical to inducing the development coaching is meant to stimulate (Gray, 2006); to be effective, reflection needs to be conscious (Ellis et al., 2014) and needs to happen in interaction with others (Rodgers, 2002); thus, it is promoted by the coach questioning the coachees (Cushion, 2018;Theeboom et al., 2017). Considering reflection as one of the key processes in coaching, we intend to better understand how individual coachees' reflection changes. ...
Coaching literature assumes that people undergo personal change through coaching. We contend that different types of change may occur with coaching and investigate whether this is the case in reflection (a key competence in coaching). Results from our sample of 61 coachees indicate that three types of change (alpha, beta, gamma) are observed across participants. Alpha change refers to a substantive change in reflection (i.e. an increase or decrease), beta to a recalibration of one's assessment of reflection and gamma to a re‐conceptualization of reflection. We further examine implicit person theory (IPT) as a predictor and perceived coaching utility as a correlate of the three types of change. We observe a higher probability that incremental IPT will associate with alpha change versus other types of change, and that beta and gamma changes correlate positively and negatively, respectively, with perceived utility for work. No significant correlations are observed between types of change and perceived utility for personal development. Our study represents an exploratory contribution to a better understanding of the within‐person changes in reflection following coaching intervention, and has implications for both theory and practice, which we discuss along with indications for future directions.
... In fact, the ability of individuals for self-reflection is an important asset making employees more self-efficacious (Stajkovic & Luthans, 1998). Furthermore, the ability for self-reflection or self-questioning helps employees to see problems as opportunities (Cope, 2003) and to attain development (Van Woerkom, 2004), learning from failure (Ellis et al., 2014) and improved performance (Totterdell & Leach, 2001). Even more relevant for the scope of the present paper, when individuals are flexible and ready to adjust their plans and their behavioral strategies (cf. ...
Full-text available
Although unattained work goals and tasks are often viewed by management as an undesired state, the present paper proposes that daily lack of closure can sometimes boost rather than block job performance. Lack of closure is defined as an employee state or subjective feeling whereby the tasks, goals, or projects of a working day remain incomplete. This state is hypothesized to positively relate to job performance for high trait-level employee reflexivity and high day-level employee mindfulness and to negatively relate to job performance for low reflexivity and low mindfulness. To test expectations, a diary survey study was conducted among 209 employees of different sectors. Results supported both hypotheses but with a different temporal pattern for each moderator: On the one hand, previous-day lack of closure negatively related to day-level performance for low employee mindfulness and positively related to day-level performance for high employee mindfulness. On the other hand, day-level lack of closure negatively related to same-day performance for low employee reflexivity and positively related to same-day performance for high employee reflexivity. Theoretical implications of the findings are discussed and practical recommendations are formulated about how employee reflexivity and mindfulness can be enhanced, for example, though workplace interventions.
... For instance, institutionalizing guided reflexivity processes (i.e., debriefing or post-mortem analyses), analyzing one's own and other groups' failures has been shown to help groups improve decision-making processes and outcomes (cf. Ellis et al., 2014;Schippers et al., 2014). Therefore, it is imperative that policymakers critically evaluate the outcomes of their and their peers' decisions in handling the current crisis and draw learnings for the future. ...
Full-text available
The effectiveness of policymakers’ decision-making in times of crisis depends largely on their ability to integrate and make sense of information. The COVID-19 crisis confronts governments with the difficult task of making decisions in the interest of public health and safety. Essentially, policymakers have to react to a threat, of which the extent is unknown, and they are making decisions under time constraints in the midst of immense uncertainty. The stakes are high, the issues involved are complex and require the careful balancing of several interests, including (mental) health, the economy, and human rights. These circumstances render policymakers’ decision-making processes vulnerable to errors and biases in the processing of information, thereby increasing the chances of faulty decision-making processes with poor outcomes. Prior research has identified three main information-processing failures that can distort group decision-making processes and can lead to negative outcomes: (1) failure to search for and share information, (2) failure to elaborate on and analyze information that is not in line with earlier information and (3) failure to revise and update conclusions and policies in the light of new information. To date, it has not yet been explored how errors and biases underlying these information-processing failures impact decision-making processes in times of crisis. In this narrative review, we outline how groupthink, a narrow focus on the problem of containing the virus, and escalation of commitment may pose real risks to decision-making processes in handling the COVID-19 crisis and may result in widespread societal damages. Hence, it is vital that policymakers take steps to maximize the quality of the decision-making process and increase the chances of positive outcomes as the crisis goes forward. We propose group reflexivity—a deliberate process of discussing team goals, processes, or outcomes—as an antidote to these biases and errors in decision-making. Specifically, we recommend several evidence-based reflexivity tools that could easily be implemented to counter these information-processing errors and improve decision-making processes in uncertain times.
This article is a reflective piece on a master’s student’s journey, and my navigation through a perceived methodological failure. The article explores the challenges recruiting physicians as participants for psychological research, particularly when a graduate student. The interdisciplinary nature of this project bridged into the health field as the focus was on physicians’ knowledge surrounding autism spectrum disorder (ASD). There are unique difficulties with recruiting from a physician population. Facilitators and barriers regarding thetechniques and methods utilized are described and recommendations are made. Implications regarding conceptualizing research failures for graduate students are discussed, as well as implications for supervisors and the research population.
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.