Error management: the different perceptions among managers and individual contributors

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Gelis Filho, Antonio
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Considering the constant changes in the market, if a company wants to thrive it is necessary to do something unique, to frequently get inputs to support its innovation. In this sense, the error management approach may be a good strategy to be considered, as it enhances the positive and mitigates the negative aspects of errors, turning mistakes into valuable sources for organizations. However, in order to properly benefit from it, the error management approach needs to become part of the organizational culture, with practices and resources that support it. Moreover, it is important to have a clear understanding about the individual and social components that may influence the employee’s experience. With this in mind, this study aims to evaluate the main differences between the understanding of managers and individual contributors regarding the error management approach in a same company, because it may support an effective implementation of the error management. To do this analysis, the qualitative methodological approach was considered, and semi-structured interviews were conducted with managers and individual contributors. The unity of analysis was a multinational consumer goods branch located in Brazil, that had the goal of improving its innovative level. Regarding the research findings, the evidences indicated that the personal preference seems to prevail when an employee needs to adopt the error management mindset, that team leaders and team members have some different perceptions about tolerant and non-tolerant errors, and it seems that both audiences are aware about the same error communication vehicles available in a given context. In addition, the individual contributors had more divergent answers compared to the managers, and that team leaders seem to be more optimistic regarding the error management approach.

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