When We Learn From Failure -- And When We Don't

05/30/2014 09:13 am ET | Updated May 30, 2014
Alberto Pérez Barahona via Getty Images

When do you pass the buck and when do you take the blame? New research shows most of us only cop to failures if they can’t be attributed to something – or someone – else. But when we dodge accountability, we prevent ourselves from learning.

In their recent HBS working paper, Christopher G. Myers, Bradley R. Staats, and Francesca Gino identify what they call an ambiguity of responsibility, which plays a powerful role in determining when you learn from failure and when you don’t.

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