Carrie Zhang accepted for publication in Personnel Psychology

Mike Ilitch School of Business Assistant Professor of Management Carrie Zhang has been accepted for publication in Personnel Psychology, which publishes conceptual, empirical, meta-analytical, and methodological papers that examine employee social networks/networking and offer ground-breaking insights.

The article, titled “When Leaders Heed the Lessons of Mistakes: Linking Leaders’ Recall of Leaders’ Recall of Learning from Mistakes to Expressed Humility,” was co-authored by Jia Hu, Robert B. Lount, Jr. and Bennett J. Tepper, all of The Ohio State University.


Making mistakes is an inevitable part of leadership, but little is known about how and when leaders benefit from reflecting on their missteps. In this paper, we propose that mistakes, when reflected upon, have the potential to increase a leader’s expressed humility. We detail how having leaders recall past mistakes can help them formulate plans for learning and encourage them to express humility. We also argue that this positive relationship is strengthened when leaders have a promotion focus. We detail downstream benefits, as increased levels of leaders’ expressed humility is expected to increase their teams’ improvement-oriented behaviors and, subsequently, team performance. Across multiple studies and using varied methods (i.e., scenario-based experiments with 955 managerial leaders, a laboratory experiment with 210 student leaders and team members, and a daily field experiment with 85 managers), we empirically test the proposed relationships. Our studies contribute to the literature by identifying leaders’ recall of learning from mistakes as an important intervention to elicit their expressed humility.

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