טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
M.Sc Thesis
M.Sc StudentBen Yehuda Shir
SubjectPrevention, Learning and Occurrence of Errors: The Error
Multilevel Paradox
DepartmentDepartment of Industrial Engineering and Management
Supervisor Professor Eitan Naveh


Abstract

Although increasing attention to errors in organizations and in engineering seems to be well-placed and echoed by recent advances in the error literature, organizations still consistently miss the mark on effectively coping with errors and learning from them (Lei, Naveh, & Novikov, 2016). Today’s headlines are filled with news about errors that result in service interruptions, product failures, injuries, and loss of human lives. Thus, developing a deeper understanding of errors is well-timed and important.

One dominant error literature line of research suggests that organizations should emphasize error prevention that is eliminating of errors in all cost, however once an error occurred they should emphasize learning from errors and update working routines and practices in order to eliminate future errors. A contradicting line of errors studies showed that the simultaneous existing of error prevention and learning from errors is a challenge that may increase error rate. We studied the relationship between error prevention and learning from errors and its association with errors in teams, suggesting that differentiating between individual and collective errors can explain the contradiction in the error literature. We suggest that doing both - error prevention and learning from errors - can lead to inconsistent or conflicting approaches which causes a tension resulted in more individual errors, however collective errors can be decreased. Also, we argue that the tension at the individual level can be resolved by referring to team learning behavior which bridges between avoidance and accepting of error occurrence. We collected survey data from 696 employees working in 60 teams belonging to a hospital, an advanced technologies R&D organization, pharmaceutical R&D organization, and a software development organization. Our results suggest that high learning behavior in a team together with high error prevention and high error welcoming, eliminates individual errors. We discuss the implication of these results.