Individual Agency in Learning from Incidents

Dane Lukic, Anoush Margaryan, Allison Littlejohn

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Learning from incidents (LFI) is perceived as a key mechanism for improving safety and preventing future mishaps in the workplace. Employees' active engagement in the LFI process is viewed as essential for effective and deep LFI. This article explores the role of the employee in LFI by examining individual agency within LFI initiatives and the factors that impact such agency in organizational learning. Individual agency refers to one's perception of the extent to which one can make decisions and judgements related to one's job including active participation in organizational safety practices. The article reports results of a qualitative study conducted within two multinational companies in the energy sector. The findings indicate that both individual (safety values, experience, confidence, proactivity and individual gains) and organizational (pathways for participation encouraging participation and feedback) factors contribute to fostering individual agency in LFI. Moreover, the article considers the interplay of these two sets of factors and the role individual agency plays in organizational learning from incidents.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHuman Resource Development International
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)409-425
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Learning from incidents
  • Organizational learning
  • Individual agency
  • Engagement

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