Failing to learn? How organizations can learn from failure

Paul Raspin (Director of Stratevolve, London, UK, and Visiting Lecturer at Cass Business School, City University, London, UK)

Strategic Direction

ISSN: 0258-0543

Publication date: 4 January 2011



The purpose of the article is to share insights, based on recent management research, into how organizations can learn from their own failure and the failure of others.


The article draws on recent management research and derives key messages and insights into how organizations can learn from failure.


There are five key findings to effectively learn from failure: share information, engage in “problemistic search”, learn vicariously, facilitate team learning, and establish a learning process.

Research limitations/implications

CEOs and strategy teams will gain insights into how organizations can learn from their own failures and the failures of others.

Practical implications

Provides guidance on how to establish a deliberate process to derive insights from internal and external failures.


Based on a review of recent leading management research on the theme of organization learning. The BP example, use of the CAIB report, the analysis and generation of key implications, and the guidance points to “How to avoid failing to learn” are original.



Raspin, P. (2011), "Failing to learn? How organizations can learn from failure", Strategic Direction, Vol. 27 No. 1, pp. 4-6.

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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