Errors in Organizations
Edited by David A. Hofmann, Michael Frese
Routledge – 2011 – 383 pages
Despite the significance and prevalence of errors in organizations, there has been no attempt within the field of Industrial and Organizational Psychology to create a single source summarizing what we know regarding errors in organizations and providing a focused effort toward identifying future directions of research. This volume answers that need and provides contributions by researchers who have conducted a considerable amount of research on errors occurring in the work context. Students, academics and practitioners in a wide range of disciplines, i.e., industrial organizational psychology, medicine, aviation, human factors and systems engineering, will find this book of interest.
"I found this book an interesting and well-presented read, full of ideas for understanding and dealing with errors in organizations. It will trigger academic debate and inspire practice, and so should be on the bookshelf of anyone interested in risk management." - Denham Phipps, occupational psychologist, Human Reliability Associates, Lancashire, UK in The Psychologist, January 2012
"Attempts to manage human error in high-hazard domains were initially (and often still are) concentrated on what went on between the ears of the perpetrators. Remedial efforts focused on blaming, shaming, retraining and the like - but these measures largely isolated the people in question from the context in which the unsafe acts occurred. One of the most significant facts about errors is that the same kinds keep occurring in similar situations involving a wide range of different individuals. These recurrent ‘error traps’ make it clear that the origins of unsafe actions go well beyond the individual and encompass the workplace, the team dynamics and the organization as a whole - particularly its safety culture. This understanding has led to an increasing concern with the broader systemic issues. This collection is the latest and best of these systemic treatments, covering as it does the gamut of error research over the last 40 years. Hofmann and Frese have brought together within a single volume a glittering assembly of top-rank contributors. Their chapters provide fresh insights as well as providing a coherent account of these diverse contexts. This book will be essential reading for all error researchers of whatever disciplinary persuasion for many years to come." - James Reason, University of Manchester, UK
"If you think that all errors are to be prevented, think again. While recognizing that preventing errors is often beneficial, Hofmann and Frese provide extensive support for the fact that the goal of the elimination of all errors in organizations is neither possible nor desirable. Their edited book, with internationally acclaimed chapter authors, convincingly demonstrates the superiority of focusing on error management rather than error prevention for individuals, teams, and organizations in settings varying from IT software development to top management teams. This book is indispensible for anyone interested in understanding performance errors and harnessing them for attaining effective performance through training and the design of tasks, teams, organizations, or any other system." - Daniel R. Ilgen, Michigan State University, USA
"With the unexpected seemingly becoming a larger chunk of everyday organizational life and growing evidence showing that crises and accidents often start with the small stuff, we can understand why scholarly interest in errors has mushroomed. Thus, David Hofmann and Michael Frese’s Errors in Organizations could not be more important or timelier. This comprehensive volume includes essays by a renowned set of scholars who provide not only keen insight into the phenomenon, but also shrewd guidance about future research avenues." - Kathleen M. Sutcliffe, University of Michigan, USA
E. Salas, Series Foreword. D.A. Hofmann, M. Frese, Introduction: Errors, Error Taxonomies, Error Prevention and Error Management: Laying the Groundwork for Discussing Errors in Organizations. N. Keith, Learning through Errors in Training. M. Hammond, J. Farr, The Role of Errors in the Creative and Innovative Process. S. Mousavi, G. Gigerenzer, Revisiting the ‘Error’ in Studies of Cognitive Errors. B. Bell, S.W.J. Kozlowski, Cognitive Failure: The Emergence, Consequences, and Management of Errors in Teams. E. Salas, S.J. Weaver, W.L. Bedwell, Team Training as a Mechanism to Enhance Reliability and Manage Errors. L.H. MacPhail, A. Edmondson, The Importance of Work Context in Organizational Learning from Error. K. Shimizu, M.A. Hitt, Errors at the Top of the Hierarchy. E. Hollnagel, When Things Go Wrong: Failures as the Flip Side of Successes. R. Ramanujam, P. Goodman, The Link between Organizational Errors and Adverse Consequences: The Role of Error-Correcting and Error-Amplifying Feedback Processes. M.J. Gelfand, M. Frese, Cultural Influences on Error: Prevention, Detection, and Management. M. Frese, D.A. Hofmann, Conclusions and Integration.
David Hofmann is Area Chair and Professor of Organizational Behavior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. His research - focused on leadership, organizational climate, multi-level theory/methods, safety and human error - has appeared in Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Management, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, and Personnel Psychology and other outlets. He teaches courses in organizational behavior and leadership and was formerly the Associate Dean for the full-time MBA program.
David’s research on leadership, safety and human error in organizations led to a corporate partnership with Behavioral Science Technologies where he helped develop a cultural assessment tool that has now been completed by over 200,000 employees in 1,000 companies (including all NASA employees after the Columbia accident). In 2006, he was awarded the American Psychological Association’s Decade of Behavior Research Award. The APA honored the practical application of his research investigating leadership issues in high-risk industries, and he presented his findings at a Congressional briefing. Dr. Hofmann also received the Yoder-Heneman Research award from the Society of Human Resource Management and has been a Fulbright Senior Scholar. Currently, he is a member of the National Research Council / National Academy of Science’s committee investigating the BP Deepwater Horizon accident.
He earned his PhD in industrial and organizational psychology from Pennsylvania State University, a master's degree in industrial and organizational psychology from the University of Central Florida and a bachelor's degree in business administration from Furman University.
Prof. Dr. Michael Frese received his Diploma and Doctorate from the Free University of Berlin and Technical University Berlin respectively and holds a joint appointment at National University of Singapore, Business School and Leuphana University of Lueneburg (Germany). Before that, he held a chair for work and organizational psychology at University of Giessen and also taught at London Business School.
Prof. Frese’s research spans a wide range of basic and applied topics within organizational behavior and work psychology. Most important are his longitudinal studies on psychological effects of unemployment, impact of stress at work, predictors of personal initiative, as well as psychological success factors of entrepreneurs. He is also known for his cross-national research on innovation. His field studies on errors, error management, error management culture also have received wide attention. In addition he is studying training - most importantly the concept of error management training, leadership training and psychological training for increasing entrepreneurial success and personal initiative. Most recently, he has done studies on cultural factors in organization and across nations, research that looks at psychological success factors in entrepreneurs in developing countries (Africa, Latin America, and Asia) and in Europe.
Frese has authored more than 250 articles and was editor/author of more than 20 books and special issues. He was elected Fellow of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (Division 14 of the American Psychological Association). He is Germany’s most frequently cited work and organizational psychologist and business and management scientist and one of the most frequently cited Europeans. He has presented more than 25 invited keynote addresses.
Prof. Frese now serves as field editor for Journal of Business Venturing. He was President of the International Association of Applied Psychology, editor of the journal APPLIED PSYCHOLOGY: An International Review, Co-Editor of Psychologische Rundschau, editorial board member of various book series (Entrepreneurship Series in Germany, SIOP Frontiers book series, Organization and Management Series (Routledge)) and member of several boards of journals. He also serves as consultant and lecturer to the management of many companies (among others banks, technology firms, automobile, utilities, telecommunication, and computer industry, with more than 200 talks given and consulting jobs done).