Navigation Links
University of Colorado Denver Business School study shows failure better teacher than success

DENVER (August 23, 2010) While success is surely sweeter than failure, it seems failure is a far better teacher, and organizations that fail spectacularly often flourish more in the long run, according to a new study by Vinit Desai, assistant professor of management at the University of Colorado Denver Business School.

Desai's research, published in the Academy of Management Journal, focused on companies and organizations that launch satellites, rockets and shuttles into space an arena where failures are high profile and hard to conceal.

Working with Peter Madsen, assistant professor at BYU School of Management, Desai found that organizations not only learned more from failure than success, they retained that knowledge longer.

"We found that the knowledge gained from success was often fleeting while knowledge from failure stuck around for years," he said. "But there is a tendency in organizations to ignore failure or try not to focus on it. Managers may fire people or turn over the entire workforce while they should be treating the failure as a learning opportunity."

The researchers said they discovered little "significant organizational learning from success" but added "we do not discount the possibility that it may occur in other settings."

Desai compared the flights of the space shuttle Atlantis and the Challenger. During the 2002 Atlantis flight, a piece of insulation broke off and damaged the left solid rocket booster but did not impede the mission or the program. There was little follow-up or investigation.

The Challenger was launched next and another piece of insulation broke off. This time the shuttle and its seven-person crew were destroyed.

The disaster prompted the suspension of shuttle flights and led to a major investigation resulting in 29 recommended changes to prevent future calamities.

The difference in response in the two cases, Desai said, came down to this: The Atlantis was considered a success and the Challenger a failure.

"Whenever you have a failure it causes a company to search for solutions and when you search for solutions it puts you as an executive in a different mindset, a more open mindset," said Desai.

He said the airline industry is one sector of the economy that has learned from failures, at least when it comes to safety.

"Despite crowded skies, airlines are incredibly reliable. The number of failures is miniscule," he said. "And past research has shown that older airlines, those with more experience in failure, have a lower number of accidents."

Desai doesn't recommend seeking out failure in order to learn. Instead, he advised organizations to analyze small failures and near misses to glean useful information rather than wait for major failures.

"The most significant implication of this studyis that organizational leaders should neither ignore failures nor stigmatize those involved with them," he concluded in the June edition of the Academy of Management Journal, "rather leaders should treat failures as invaluable learning opportunities, encouraging the open sharing of information about them."


Contact: David Kelly
University of Colorado Denver

Related medicine news :

1. University of Virginia Health System Medical Laboratories Selects Sunquest's Specimen Collection Solution
2. Akron Institute of Herzing University Launches Its First Bachelors Degree Programs to Prepare Students for Even Greater Success in Business, Health Care and IT
3. Most pandemic plans in Ontario hospitals have not been tested: Queens University study
4. San Diego State University and BIOCOM Institute Receive $4.95 Million Grant: The BRIDGE Project, Linking Education to Employment in San Diegos Life Sciences Industry
5. Smithsonian Institution, Arizona State University announce education and research partnership
6. Untreated poor vision in elderly linked to dementia, University of Michigan study shows
7. Giarmarco, Mullins & Horton, P.C. President Joseph F. Page to Speak at University of Michigan
8. Arizona State Universitys Decision Theater offers balance to an off-kilter world
9. Forest City Announces Joint Venture with Health Care REIT for University Park Life Science Properties
10. Herzing University Online Launches Master and Bachelor of Science Degrees in Nursing
11. Nurtur Acquires ActivHealth and Wellness by Choice; Gains Exclusive Partnership with Duke University Center for Living
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... The ... OSHA Training Institute Education Center headquartered in Northern California, has issued an important ... heat at their worksites. Employers with workers exposed to high temperatures should ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... ... "FCPX editors can now reveal their media with growing colorful split screen ... - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ProSlice Color brings the split screens ... reveal the media of their split screens with growing colorful panels. , ProSlice Color ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... TherapySites, ... today its affiliation with Tennessee Counseling Association. This new relationship allows ... the Tennessee Counseling Association, adding exclusive benefits and promotional offers. , "TCA is ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... industry today announced its strategic partnership with Connance, a healthcare industry leader ... two companies’ proven, proprietary technology combine to provide health systems, hospitals and ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... cutting edge technology to revolutionize the emergency ambulance transport experience for the millions ... aware of how Uber has disrupted the taxi industry through the use of ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... DUBLIN , June 23, 2016 ... "Global MEMS Devices Medical Market Analysis 2016 - Forecast to ... The report contains up to date financial ... reliable analysis. Assessment of major trends with potential impact on ... dive analysis of market segmentation which comprises of sub markets, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 , ... Thursday, July 7, 2016 , , , , LOCATION: , ... , , , , EXPERT PANELISTS:  , , , Frost ... Industry Analyst, Christi Bird; Senior Industry Analyst, Divyaa Ravishankar and Unmesh ... The global pharmaceutical industry is witnessing an exceptional era. Several ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016  Guerbet announced today that it has been ... Award . One of 12 suppliers to ... its support of Premier members through exceptional local customer ... commitment to lower costs. ... our outstanding customer service from Premier," says Massimo ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: