Table 3

 The adaptive conformer inhibits organisational learning

What the employee facesThe adaptive conformerThe observant questioner
This table is reproduced in a slightly revised form from Tucker and Edmondson (2003).7
ObstaclesAdjusts and improvises without bothering managers or othersNoisy complainer: remedies immediate situation but also lets managers and those from whom supplies are received know when the system has failed
Others’ errorsSeamlessly corrects for errors of others,without confronting the person about their errorNosy interrupter: asks what others are doing and lets others know they have made a mistake with the intent of creating learning, not blame
Own errors and problemsCreates an impression of never making mistakesSelf aware error maker: lets manager and others know they have made a mistake so everyone can learn. Communicates openness to hearing about their errors discovered by others
Subtle opportunities for changeCommitted to organisation and to its processes, understands the “way things work” around hereDisruptive questioner who won’t let well enough alone: questions why do we do things this way? Is there a better way of providing the service?