Enabling Young Professionals to Learn from Errors - The Role of a Supportive Learning Climate in Crossing Help Network Boundaries

Therese Grohnert*, Roger Meuwissen, Wim Gijselaers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Learning from errors is crucial for individuals' as well as organizations' performance. Yet, learning does not automatically follow from erring: the fear of negative consequences may prevent professionals from learning. These social costs of making an error, receiving negative judgments or experiencing feared punishment, need to be lowered for learning from error to take place. This study explores whether a supportive learning from error climate enables young professionals to engage in help-seeking behavior for learning after making an error. Using a social network approach, information from 157 young professionals in the domain of auditing reveals that not all help-seeking after errors is learning-oriented. Especially help-seeking from hierarchical superiors depends on the organization's learning from error climate: perceptions of this climate moderate the relationship between social costs of help seeking within a hierarchical work setting and the learning value of help sought. This study contributes to existing literature through its focus on a specific learning from error behavior, help-seeking, its triangulation of climate measures, as well as its focus on professionals' actual error experiences in their work environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-243
Number of pages27
JournalVocations and Learning
Issue number2
Early online date2018
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019


  • Learning from errors
  • Help-seeking
  • Hierarchy
  • Accessibility
  • Learning from errors climate
  • Social network analysis
  • WORK
  • VIEW

Cite this