Managing errors in organizations

ESMT Berlin Germany

The course will provide students with an overview on how organizations are impacted by errors. In business the focus is often on learning from success cases. While failures also provide valuable information they are often not systematically evaluated as they tend to be associated with neglect or sloppy work and are therefore not openly communicated. Silence on errors - which is an underestimated phenomenon in many organizations – may furthermore prevent breaking error chains and leading to big loss events or even catastrophic failures. The course will make students aware of the hurdles that prevent organizations from having an open error communication and introduce them to the concepts developed by high-reliability organizations as airlines, hospitals or nuclear power plants to effectively deal with errors. At the end of the course the students can practice their acquired learning in an engaging group simulation. Most of the case studies used in this course as well as the simulation have been authored and developed by the teaching professor.

The course will be structured in three parts:
1.    The human factor lense - dealing with errors on the individual level
2.    The organizational lense - dealing with errors on the organizational level
3.    The leadership lense  - principles for creating an open error culture

Faculty: Jan U. Hagen