Jul 25, 2011

Superstitious Learning



I believe one of the issues with organizational reflection and reason is attribution theory, - the ability to ascribe all the good to what we do, and all the negative to other factors.

On the same line Rita McGrath writes On the Pitfalls of Superstitious Learning :
"Superstitious learning takes place when the connection between the cause of an action and the outcomes experienced aren't clear, or are misattributed. For example, consider a manager in a company that fortuitously entered a growing market just at the right moment. This manager appears successful and is rewarded with several promotions into the senior ranks. Obviously, the guy must know what he's doing, because he has always experienced success, right? Actually, no — one of the least fair realities of modern business is that it is entirely possible to have good outcomes without being particularly skillful (why else would Dilbert be so popular?). Often, the only antidote to everyone thinking the person is golden is to have some kind of setback take place. Let this manager encounter a problem, and his or her true abilities will emerge to be tested."