HEC-Ecole de gestion de l'Université de Liège
HEC-Ecole de gestion de l'Université de Liège

The incorporation of a failure learning orientation in the organizational culture: from theory to practice.

Lonhienne, Juliette ULiège
Promotor(s) : Van Caillie, Didier ULiège
Date of defense : 23-Jun-2021/25-Jun-2021 • Permalink :
Title : The incorporation of a failure learning orientation in the organizational culture: from theory to practice.
Translated title : [fr] L'incorporation d'une orientation d'apprentissage par l'échec dans la culture organisationnelle: de la théorie à la pratique
Author : Lonhienne, Juliette ULiège
Date of defense  : 23-Jun-2021/25-Jun-2021
Advisor(s) : Van Caillie, Didier ULiège
Committee's member(s) : Crutzen, Nathalie ULiège
Mattart, Raphaëlle ULiège
Language : English
Number of pages : 70
Keywords : [en] Failure, learning, orientation, failure learning orientation, organizational learning, risk management, organizational culture.
Discipline(s) : Business & economic sciences > General management & organizational theory
Target public : Researchers
Professionals of domain
Institution(s) : Université de Liège, Liège, Belgique
Degree: Master en ingénieur de gestion, à finalité spécialisée en sustainable performance management
Faculty: Master thesis of the HEC-Ecole de gestion de l'Université de Liège


[en] In a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) business world, organizations need more than ever to be responsive to unpredicted risk. While developing failure learning orientations, organizations are building the capacity to respond to various risk and their consequences. When mastered, failure learning can become a competitive advantage for organizations in competitive markets while risk management becomes part of the organizational culture.

This paper focuses on failure learning orientations and on how to incorporate such orientations as a part of the organizational culture. Authors developed researches about failure learning orientation since the 70’s, trying notably to understand the causes of failure and their implications. More recently, the literature has started to focus on how to design these orientations in all organizational cultures (Cannon and Edmondson (2005), Wilson and Dobni (2020), Argote (2013), Cardon, Steven and Potter (2011), …).

The approach followed in this thesis is a deductive one. It involves the collection of important findings from the existing literature on the topic and deducts a model on basis of it, which is later evaluated by field interviews. This model integrates a list of enablers that leaders of organizations should include in their organizational culture to offer a better response to failure and learn from it.

In the literature, three main papers are identified as key sources for building a model on how to design a failure learning orientation. Based on those 3 papers but also on other very insightful papers in the literature, we have identified 5 important enablers to follow in order to design a failure learning orientation in the organization culture. Thanks to the field interviews, the five enablers have been reviewed and improved to become: organizational commitment to learning, creation of a safe environment (provide a positive response and end the blame game), encourage innovative initiatives, identify the causes of failure and analyze the causes of failure. This enablers, incorporated in a strategic order, are considered as the first step to the incorporation of a failure learning orientation in the organizational culture.



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  • Lonhienne, Juliette ULiège Université de Liège > Master ingé. gest., à fin.


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