The power of reflection at work by Giada Di Stefano

30 June 2014

In a busy business world where everyone wants to increase the performance and productivity of the workforce, we tend to work faster and harder, making ourselves overwhelmed and running after time. A recent study by HEC Paris Professor Giada Di Stefano shows that to stop and think is not a waste of time, and would help us to be 23% more productive.


In the working paper "Learning by Thinking: How Reflection Aids Performance", the authors Giada Di Stefano of HEC Paris, Francesca Gino and Gary Pisano of Harvard Business School, and Bradley Staats of the University of North Carolina show that reflecting on what you've done enables you to do it better next time.

In this latest HEC Insight video, Giada Di Stefano, Professor of Strategy at HEC Paris presents the results of their research, based on a combination of l two laboratory experiments with a field experiment conducted in a large business process outsourcing company in India. Employees who spent the last 15 minutes of each day of their training period writing and reflecting on what they had learned did 23% better in the final training test than other employees. Professor Di Stefano also explains the role of self-efficacy on the finding that people work better if they take time to reflect.

Their results unveil the role of reflection as a powerful mechanism behind learning, thus confirming the words of American philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer John Dewey: “We do not learn from experience…we learn reflecting on experience.”

Click here to find the report on line

More about:

Giada Di Stefano has been assistant professor of strategy and business policy at HEC since January 2012. She teaches Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the HEC Grande Ecole. Di Stefano obtained her M.Sc. in business administration in 2003 then her PhD in business administration and management in 2011 from Milan's Bocconi University. She also worked as a senior product manager at L'Oréal's Italian branch from 2003 to 2005. Her research focuses on how and why firms transfer the knowledge that help them achieve competitive advantage. In this context, she is particularly interested in the role played by social and institutional forces, such as social norms.

Consult Knowledge@HEC to read more articles regarding Di Stefano’s research:

- Information sharing with competitors: wisdom or folly?

- Searching for new sources of innovation: the role of consumers

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