How Organizations Can Learn from Failure

Topics: Crisis management, Learning, Organization Pages: 8 (2533 words) Published: March 31, 2013
How can organizations learn from failure?
Companies can learn from failure by setting up clear systems of measurement and utilizing certain performance indicators which record failures in detail. Simply not overlooking failure as something inevitable? First failure is defined. Second explanations on how organizations should go about thinking about failure in the right way. Third, elaboration on methods organizations could potentially use to learn from failure. Finally, what organizations can learn from failing. Even though there is a no precise definition for failure in organizations, there is a general agreement to what failure means and could lead to. Failure is broadly defined as a condition of not meeting the intended objective or end. Failure could result in the depletion of finance, shrinking market, exit from the market, loss of market share, project failure and loss of legitimacy. We can assume that failure has negative consequences even though the final outcome may be positive, with firms learning from failure. Understanding the need for learning from failure is unquestionable; however it is tough for organizations to put this into practice. It is crucial that organizations understand failure and think about it in the right way before they can go about implementing procedures to prevent such failures from happening in the future. Learning from failure involves understanding that failure is not always bad and that learning from failure is no straightforward task. An organization cannot simply reflect on what they did wrong and expect to not make the same mistakes again. Organizations have to understand about the different degrees of failure which occur on a scale ranging from blameworthy to praiseworthy. They fall into three broad categories which are 1, failures which occur in predictable operations which could be prevented. 2, unavoidable failures which occur in complex organizations which can be managed to prevent snowballing. 3, unwanted outcomes…. To learn from failure, we require different strategies for each setting. It is key to detect them early, analyze failures with depth, develop hypothesis, experiments and projects to product them. In order to minimize failure employees first have to feel safe to report these failures. In the article titled strategies for learning from failure the author Amy C. Edmondson talks about First the organization has to go about understanding failure in the right way as well as all the possible side… Important for managers to think about failure in the right way. Failure is not always bad. It is sometimes bad and sometimes inevitable and sometimes good. Learning from failure is not a straightforward task. The attitudes and activities required to effectively detect and analyze failures are in short supply in most companies and the need for context-specific learning strategies is underappreciated.? Organizations need new and better ways to go beyond lessons which are superficial( procedures which weren’t followed) or self serving ( The market just wasn’t ready for our great new product) That means jettisoning old cultural beliefs and stereotypical notions. The blame game? A spectrum of reasons for failure?

Failing to learn from failure reasons?
-Simply experiencing a negative event is not sufficient for learning. - Learning can be a complicated process, the acquisition of knowledge and the shifts in behavior must occur at all levels of a highly complex system. “Bazerman and Watkins (2004) contend that, when organizations fail to learn failures, they become susceptible to predictable surprises. What is the difference between predictable and unpredictable surprises? Predictable surprises occur when an organization leadership ignores or fails to understand clear evidence that a potentially devastating problem to occur.

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