Making Experience Count: The Role of Reflection in Individual Learning

37 Pages Posted: 26 Mar 2014 Last revised: 5 Dec 2016

Giada Di Stefano

HEC Paris

Francesca Gino

Harvard Business School

Gary P. Pisano

Harvard Business School

Bradley R. Staats

University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School

Date Written: June 14, 2016

Abstract

In this paper, we build on research on the microfoundations of strategy and learning processes to study the individual underpinnings of organizational learning. We argue that once an individual has accumulated a certain amount of experience with a task, the benefit of accumulating additional experience is inferior to the benefit of deliberately articulating and codifying the experience accumulated in the past. We explain the superior performance outcomes associated with such deliberate learning efforts using both a cognitive (improved task understanding) and an emotional (increased self-efficacy) mechanism. We study the proposed framework by means of a mixed-method experimental design that combines the reach and relevance of a field experiment with the precision of two laboratory experiments. Our results support the proposed theoretical framework and bear important implications from both a theoretical and practical viewpoint.

Keywords: learning, codification, knowledge, self-efficacy, causal ambiguity, field experiment

Suggested Citation

Di Stefano, Giada and Gino, Francesca and Pisano, Gary P. and Staats, Bradley R., Making Experience Count: The Role of Reflection in Individual Learning (June 14, 2016). Harvard Business School NOM Unit Working Paper No. 14-093; Harvard Business School Technology & Operations Mgt. Unit Working Paper No. 14-093; HEC Paris Research Paper No. SPE-2016-1181. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2414478 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2414478

Giada Di Stefano (Contact Author)

HEC Paris ( email )

1, rue de la Libération
Jouy-en-Josas, 78351
France

HOME PAGE: http://www.giadadistefano.com

Francesca Gino

Harvard Business School ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States

Gary Pisano

Harvard Business School ( email )

Technology & Operations Management Unit
Morgan Hall
Boston, MA 02163
United States
617-495-6562 (Phone)
617-496-5265 (Fax)

Bradley R. Staats

University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School ( email )

McColl Building, CB#3490
Chapel Hill, NC 27599
United States

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