Exploring the link between learning from error climate and professionals' engagement in social learning activities after errors

L. Smeets*, W. Gijselaers, R. Meuwissen, T. Grohnert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose Learning from errors is a complex process that requires careful support. Building on affective events theory, the purpose of this paper is to explore how a supportive learning from error climate can contribute to social learning from errors through affective and cognitive error responses by individual professionals. Design/methodology/approach A total of 139 early-career auditors completed an online questionnaire consisting of validated survey scales, allowing for serial mediation analysis to compare direct and indirect effects. Findings Learning from error climate was directly and positively related to engagement in social learning activities after committing an error. Furthermore, the authors found a double mediation by error strain (an affective error response) and reflecting on errors (a cognitive error response) on this relationship. Practical implications Organizations can actively encourage professionals to learn from their errors by creating a supportive learning from error climate and holding professionals accountable for their errors. Originality/value The present study enriches the authors' understanding of the mechanisms through which learning from error climate influences engagement in social learning activities. It extends prior research on learning from errors by investigating the sequential effects of engagement in error-related learning activities performed individually and in social interaction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-428
Number of pages16
JournalBaltic Journal of Management
Issue number3
Early online date14 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - 12 May 2022


  • Learning from errors
  • Affective events theory
  • Error strain
  • Reflecting on errors
  • Learning from error climate
  • Engagement in social learning activities
  • WORK

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