Reporting Self-Made Errors: The Impact of Organizational Error-Management Climate and Error Type

A.H. Gold, U. Gronewold, S.E. Salterio

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

We study how an organization's error-management climate affects organizational members' beliefs about other members' willingness to report errors that they discover when chance of error detection by superiors and others is extremely low. An error-management climate, as a component of the organizational climate, is said to be "high" when errors are accepted as part of everyday life as long as they are learned from and not repeated. Alternatively, the error-management climate is said to be an "error averse" climate when discovery of errors invokes the laying of blame on those admitting to or found committing errors. We examine the effects of this error-management climate in a professional services environment where uncorrected errors may have severe consequences and discovery of work errors is crucial for organizational success. We find that error-management climate affects organizational members' beliefs about what other members will report about discovered self-made errors, with a high error-management (versus error averse) climate leading to greater reporting willingness. We also find a significant interaction with a key contextual variable, error type (conceptual or calculation), that suggests the effect is more significant for conceptual errors than calculation errors. Our findings suggest that an organization's error-management climate is an important factor in promoting ethical behavior of employees, especially junior employees, carrying out routine tasks whose failure to report errors discovered incidental to those tasks may have severe implications for their organizations. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-208
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Volume117
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Fingerprint

climate
management
Climate
employee
everyday life

Cite this

@article{585e9685ea084d468338b3978d740e0f,
title = "Reporting Self-Made Errors: The Impact of Organizational Error-Management Climate and Error Type",
abstract = "We study how an organization's error-management climate affects organizational members' beliefs about other members' willingness to report errors that they discover when chance of error detection by superiors and others is extremely low. An error-management climate, as a component of the organizational climate, is said to be {"}high{"} when errors are accepted as part of everyday life as long as they are learned from and not repeated. Alternatively, the error-management climate is said to be an {"}error averse{"} climate when discovery of errors invokes the laying of blame on those admitting to or found committing errors. We examine the effects of this error-management climate in a professional services environment where uncorrected errors may have severe consequences and discovery of work errors is crucial for organizational success. We find that error-management climate affects organizational members' beliefs about what other members will report about discovered self-made errors, with a high error-management (versus error averse) climate leading to greater reporting willingness. We also find a significant interaction with a key contextual variable, error type (conceptual or calculation), that suggests the effect is more significant for conceptual errors than calculation errors. Our findings suggest that an organization's error-management climate is an important factor in promoting ethical behavior of employees, especially junior employees, carrying out routine tasks whose failure to report errors discovered incidental to those tasks may have severe implications for their organizations. {\circledC} 2012 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.",
author = "A.H. Gold and U. Gronewold and S.E. Salterio",
year = "2013",
doi = "10.1007/s10551-012-1500-6",
language = "English",
volume = "117",
pages = "189--208",
journal = "Journal of Business Ethics",
issn = "0167-4544",
publisher = "Springer Netherlands",
number = "1",

}

Reporting Self-Made Errors: The Impact of Organizational Error-Management Climate and Error Type. / Gold, A.H.; Gronewold, U.; Salterio, S.E.

In: Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 117, No. 1, 2013, p. 189-208.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Reporting Self-Made Errors: The Impact of Organizational Error-Management Climate and Error Type

AU - Gold, A.H.

AU - Gronewold, U.

AU - Salterio, S.E.

PY - 2013

Y1 - 2013

N2 - We study how an organization's error-management climate affects organizational members' beliefs about other members' willingness to report errors that they discover when chance of error detection by superiors and others is extremely low. An error-management climate, as a component of the organizational climate, is said to be "high" when errors are accepted as part of everyday life as long as they are learned from and not repeated. Alternatively, the error-management climate is said to be an "error averse" climate when discovery of errors invokes the laying of blame on those admitting to or found committing errors. We examine the effects of this error-management climate in a professional services environment where uncorrected errors may have severe consequences and discovery of work errors is crucial for organizational success. We find that error-management climate affects organizational members' beliefs about what other members will report about discovered self-made errors, with a high error-management (versus error averse) climate leading to greater reporting willingness. We also find a significant interaction with a key contextual variable, error type (conceptual or calculation), that suggests the effect is more significant for conceptual errors than calculation errors. Our findings suggest that an organization's error-management climate is an important factor in promoting ethical behavior of employees, especially junior employees, carrying out routine tasks whose failure to report errors discovered incidental to those tasks may have severe implications for their organizations. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

AB - We study how an organization's error-management climate affects organizational members' beliefs about other members' willingness to report errors that they discover when chance of error detection by superiors and others is extremely low. An error-management climate, as a component of the organizational climate, is said to be "high" when errors are accepted as part of everyday life as long as they are learned from and not repeated. Alternatively, the error-management climate is said to be an "error averse" climate when discovery of errors invokes the laying of blame on those admitting to or found committing errors. We examine the effects of this error-management climate in a professional services environment where uncorrected errors may have severe consequences and discovery of work errors is crucial for organizational success. We find that error-management climate affects organizational members' beliefs about what other members will report about discovered self-made errors, with a high error-management (versus error averse) climate leading to greater reporting willingness. We also find a significant interaction with a key contextual variable, error type (conceptual or calculation), that suggests the effect is more significant for conceptual errors than calculation errors. Our findings suggest that an organization's error-management climate is an important factor in promoting ethical behavior of employees, especially junior employees, carrying out routine tasks whose failure to report errors discovered incidental to those tasks may have severe implications for their organizations. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

U2 - 10.1007/s10551-012-1500-6

DO - 10.1007/s10551-012-1500-6

M3 - Article

VL - 117

SP - 189

EP - 208

JO - Journal of Business Ethics

JF - Journal of Business Ethics

SN - 0167-4544

IS - 1

ER -