Vicarious Learning

Association Between Team Learning Behavior and Reduced Burnout Among Medicine Residents

Burnout is a pervasive and alarming issue for physicians-in-training (residents), as well as practicing physicians, with significant consequences for resident well-being, care quality, and patient safety. Efforts to address burnout have emphasized both organization-level factors that create more supportive environments and individual-level factors that enhance physician resilience in the face of challenges. However, residents primarily work in teams – delivering patient care with fellow trainees, faculty and interprofessional colleagues. Team practices and behaviors have been found to impact how individuals experience their work – yet, the relationship of these team-level factors to resident burnout is still largely unknown.

Coactive Vicarious Learning: Toward a Relational Theory of Vicarious Learning in Organizations

Vicarious learning — individual learning that occurs through being exposed to and making meaning from another’s experience — has long been recognized as a driver of individual, team, and organizational success. Yet existing perspectives on this critical learning process have remained fairly limited, often casting vicarious learning as simply an intrapersonal, one-way process of observation and imitation. Largely absent in prior perspectives is a consideration of the relational dynamics and underlying behaviors by which individuals learn vicariously through interacting with others, rendering these perspectives less useful for understanding learning in the increasingly interconnected work of modern organizations. Integrating theories of experiential learning and symbolic interactionism, I offer a theoretical model of coactive vicarious learning, a relational process of coconstructed, interpersonal learning that occurs through discursive interactions between individuals at work. I explore how these interactions involve the mutual processing of another’s experience; are influenced by characteristics of the individual, relational, and structural context in organizations; and lead to growth not only in individuals’ knowledge but also in their individual and relational capacity for learning and applying knowledge. I close by discussing the implications of this conceptual model for the understanding and practice of vicarious learning in organizations.

To Cope with Stress, Try Learning Something New

There are typically two ways people try to deal with work stress. One is to simply “buckle down and power through”—to focus on getting the stressful work done. Professional workers often have a “bias for action” and want to find a solution quickly. The other common tactic is to retreat—to temporarily disconnect from work and get away from the stressful environment. Unfortunately, both of these approaches have pitfalls. Continuing to work while stressed and fatigue can tax us and lead to worse performance. And while a reprieve from work can offer temporary relief, it doesn’t address the underlying issues causing the stress in the first place. Research suggests a third option might be more effective at helping us manage stress and its effects: focusing on learning. This can mean picking up a new skill, gathering new information, or seeking out intellectual challenges. In two recent research projects, one with employees from a variety of industries and organizations, and the other with medical residents, researchers found evidence that engaging in learning activities can buffer workers from detrimental effects of stress including negative emotions, unethical behavior, and burnout.

Social Media as a Platform for Surgical Learning: Use and Engagement Patterns Among Robotic Surgeons

In response to technological advances and growing dispersion of surgical practice around the globe, social media platforms have emerged in recent years as channels for surgeons to share experiences, ask questions, and learn from one another. To better understand surgeons’ engagement with these platforms, we analyzed data from a closed-membership Facebook group for robotic surgeons. Our analysis revealed that surgeons posted more frequently on midweek days, and further that text posts received significantly more comments, and significantly fewer “likes,” than posts containing links, photos, or videos. We discuss the implications of these use and engagement patterns for the viability of social media platforms as tools for surgeons to learn vicariously from their peers’ experiences and expertise.

Surgeons Are Using Social Media to Share and Learn New Skills

Citation Myers, C.G., Kudsi, O.Y., & Ghaferi, A.A. (2017, October). Surgeons are using social media to share and learn new skills. Harvard Business Review, Digital article. Translated 克里斯托弗·迈尔斯 [Myers], 优素福·库德斯 [Kudsi], 阿米尔·加佛理等 [Ghaferi]. (2017, December). 外科医生利用社交媒体学习新技能. Harvard Business Review China. Translated كريستوفر مايرز [Myers], يوسف قدسي [Kudsi], أمير غافيري [Ghaferi]. (2017, December). الجراحون يستفيدون من وسائل التواصل الاجتماعي لمشاركة وتعلّم مهارات جديدة Harvard Business Review Arabia. https://hbrarabic.

When Health Care Providers Look at Problems from Multiple Perspectives, Patients Benefit

Citation Frimpong, J.A., Myers, C.G., Sutcliffe, K.M., & Lu-Myers, Y. (2017, June). When health care providers look at problems from multiple perspectives, patients benefit. Harvard Business Review, Digital article. Summary Health care providers have vastly different ways of seeing and treating patients, as differences in profession, specialty, experience, or background lead them to pay attention to particular signals or cues, and influence how they approach problems. While diverse perspectives and approaches to care are important, if they are not managed appropriately, they can cause misunderstandings, bias decision-making, and get in the way of the best care.

Agency in Vicarious Learning at Work

Citation Myers, C.G. & DeRue, D.S. (2017). Agency in vicarious learning at work. In J.E. Ellingson & R.A. Noe (Eds.), Autonomous Learning in the Workplace, SIOP Organizational Frontiers Series (pp. 15–37). New York, NY: Routledge. Book Info Autonomous Learning in the Workplace Edited by Jill E. Ellingson & Raymond A. Noe More Information

Try Asking the Person at the Next Desk

Citation Myers, C.G. (2016, November). Try asking the person at the next desk. Carey Business, Fall 2016, 6–7. Revised and Reprinted Myers, C.G. (2018, October). Learning from others in the digital age. Chief Learning Officer, Industry Insights. Download Here Summary People today have access to more information than at any point in human history. A 2014 report estimated the size of the internet at 1 billion unique websites, and by the end of 2016, global internet traffic is expected to reach 1.

Transferring Knowledge Between Projects at NASA JPL

Please Note: This case was updated in July 2017. The new version supersedes and replaces the original (published in September 2016). Citation Leonard, D.A., & Myers, C.G. (2016, September; Revised 2017, July). Transferring knowledge between projects at NASA JPL (A). HBS Case No. 917-404. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Publishing. Supplemental Case: Leonard, D.A., & Myers, C.G. (2016, September; Revised 2017, July). Transferring knowledge between projects at NASA JPL (B).

Antecedents and Performance Benefits of Reciprocal Vicarious Learning in Teams

Citation Myers, C.G. (2016). Antecedents and performance benefits of reciprocal vicarious learning in teams. Academy of Management Proceedings, 2016. Conference Award Received the 2016 MOC Division Best Dissertation-based Paper Award Abstract Vicarious learning - the process by which an individual learns from another’s experience - has long been recognized as a source of development and performance improvement in organizations, at both individual and collective levels. Yet existing perspectives on this critical learning process have been fairly limited, typically casting vicarious learning as a simplistic, one- way process of observation and imitation.