Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy




Konrad, Alison


Mindfulness is a concept drawn from the contemplative traditions that refers to present-moment, non-judgmental awareness. Exactly how applicable mindfulness is in the workplace requires further empirical validation, particularly on outcomes immediately relevant to organizations. This study contributes to literature examining the effects of mindfulness in organizational settings by considering the effects of an 8-week workplace mindfulness training program in a high-reliability organization (hospital) on individual error orientation, an individual’s propensity to learn from error, worry about error, or hide error. This study adds to the current state of knowledge by providing further insight into why one holds a particular error orientation and what can be done to encourage productive responses to error.

Applying a randomized control trial design, employees of multiple hospital sites were recruited and assigned to one of three conditions: mindfulness, Pilates, or a no-treatment control condition. It was hypothesized that mindfulness training would increase the mindfulness levels of individuals and further, that mindfulness levels would predict error orientation. Three mechanisms were proposed as mediators of mindfulness and the positive relationship with learning from error, negative relationship with worrying about error, and negative relationship with hiding error: core self-evaluations, self-compassion, and authenticity.

Quantitative findings confirmed that participants who received the mindfulness training reported increases in their perceived levels of mindfulness. Mindfulness levels were also related to worrying about error and hiding error in the hypothesized directions. The mediation hypotheses had mixed findings. While mindfulness showed significant relationships with the proposed mediators, these constructs were not always significantly related to the facets of error orientation. Qualitative findings suggest that mindfulness training offers emotion regulation skills that support productive responses to error. Mindfulness may be a meaningful training for employees with a wide range of cognitive, affective, attitudinal and behavioural benefits. It appears there may be a role for workplace mindfulness training as it relates to error orientation, productivity, and overall employee well-being.