The Importance of Error Management in Hospitality Organizations:Evidences from Error Management Culture and Error Tolerance



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Identified as two core components of the organizational error management, error management culture and error tolerance have been found to be effective managerial tools that shape employees’ positive job attitudes and behaviors. However, there is a dearth of research that helps better understanding the emotional and cognitive underlying mechanisms linking error management practices and employees’ work performance, especially in the error-prone hospitality industry. Study 1 examines the impacts of the error management culture on employees’ emotional exhaustion and service recovery performance through two discrete emotional paths: gratitude and anxiety. Across three-wave data collected from 218 hotel employees, the results showed that anxiety and gratitude mediated the relationship between error management culture and emotional exhaustion. Moreover, employees’ emotional exhaustion had a significant negative relationship with service recovery performance rated by their supervisors. Study 2 aims to investigate the impacts of error tolerance on employees’ perceived psychological safety and learning behavior, which in turn, influence service recovery performance and error reporting. Using data collected among 234 restaurant employees, this study revealed that error tolerance is positively related to employees’ service recovery performance and error reporting, through the mediating role of perceived psychological safety and learning behavior. The findings of study 1 and 2 shed light on the important roles error management can play in shaping and developing positive cognitions, emotions, and work performance among hospitality employees. As a managerial strategy, the organizational error management is able to turn the frequently-occurred and often negatively-perceived error situations into a unique occasion to 1) shape positive moral emotion (e.g., gratitude); 2) eliminate negative affective strain following the stress-producing environment (e.g., anxiety); 3) reinforce psychological safety; and 4) promote learning. In addition, these positive emotional and cognitive outcomes that resulted from organizational error management had a strong positive relationship with employees’ service recovery performance and error reporting behavior. Therefore, managers of hospitality organizations should hold a more positive view toward error occurrence and adopt a proactive error management strategy to not only better handle errors, but also form employees’ job attitudes, emotions, as well as behaviors that contribute to the creation of a positive work environment and organizational effectiveness.



Error management, Learning, Service recovery performance, Emotion