Theses Doctoral

Learning Agility in Context: Engineers’ Perceptions of Psychologically Safe Climate on Performance

Catenacci-Francois, Lauren

Organizations are changing faster than ever underscoring the importance of being learning agile—that is, learning new concepts and skills quickly while integrating learnings from past experiences to new situations in order to be successful (Mitchinson & Morris, 2012). Learning agility has been a topic of interest for almost two decades, and while research to date has demonstrated a positive relationship between learning agility and various performance outcomes (Dries, Vantilborgh, & Pepermans, 2012; Lombard & Eichinger, 2000; Smith, 2015), it remains to be seen whether certain contextual variables enhance, diminish, or altogether change learning agility’s positive impact on performance (DeRue, Ashford, & Myers, 2012). This research examined organizational climate rooted in psychological safety as a contextual factor, or moderator, and how it influences when learning agility leads to high performance. While learning agility and psychologically safe climate were not significant predictors of performance, a marginally significant interaction revealed that when an organization’s climate is perceived as low in psychological safety, those who score lower on learning agility perform worse than highly learning agile individuals. However, counterintuitive findings suggest than when the organization’s climate is perceived as high in psychological safety, those who score lower on learning agility outperform those who score higher on learning agility. Exploratory and post-hoc analyses are used to better understand the data and the organizational context in which the results occurred. Directions for future research are discussed along with implications for organizations.


  • thumnail for CatenacciFrancois_columbia_0054D_14688.pdf CatenacciFrancois_columbia_0054D_14688.pdf application/pdf 1000 KB Download File

More About This Work

Academic Units
Social-Organizational Psychology
Thesis Advisors
Burke, W. Warner
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 15, 2018