Recent findings on organizational unlearning and intentional forgetting research (2019–2022)

  • This mini review aims at summarizing the current state-of-the-art of empirical unlearning and intentional forgetting (U/IF) research at the individual, team, and organizational level. It adds to an earlier review and incorporates 31 recent studies from 2019 to 2022. The review reveals that predictors based on the organization’s adaptation context (e.g., competitive intensity), organization level (e.g., leadership exploration activities), individual task-related (e.g., features of the routines changed), and person-related level (e.g., cognitive control strategies) variables relate to process variables, such as the type of U/IF, the U/IF content (e.g., success beliefs or failure beliefs), and information processing variables (e.g., team information processing). The outcome variables are at the organizational level (e.g., cross-boundary innovation), team level performance level, the individual task performance level (e.g., errors), and person-related level (e.g., self-esteem). The analyzed studies at the team and organizational levels preferred cross-sectional study designs or in-depth qualitative methods, which severely limits the possibility of making causal statements. In contrast, at the individual-level studies use longitudinal designs as well to make temporal aspects of U/IF visible. But these individual level results are limited in terms of their generalizability to other levels. Even though all studies make valuable contribution to the understanding of antecedents and outcomes of U/IF, the temporal and process-related aspects of how U/IF unfolds at the different levels and subsequent options for its deliberate facilitation remain empirically little elaborated. It is proposed that in addition to studying the antecedents and consequences of U/IF in cross sectional designs, the topic needs more longitudinal designs to capture the nature of the U/IF processes in organizations.

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Author:Annette KlugeORCiDGND
Parent Title (English):Frontiers in psychology
Publisher:Frontiers Research Foundation
Place of publication:Lausanne
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2024/02/26
Date of first Publication:2023/07/27
Publishing Institution:Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universitätsbibliothek
Tag:Open Access Fonds
beliefs; innovation; knowledge; organizational memory; readiness; relearning; routines
Issue:Article 1160173
First Page:1160173-1
Last Page:1160173-9
Article Processing Charge funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and the Open Access Publication Fund of Ruhr-Universität Bochum.
Institutes/Facilities:Arbeitseinheit Arbeits-, Organisations- und Wirtschaftspsychologie
Dewey Decimal Classification:Philosophie und Psychologie / Psychologie
open_access (DINI-Set):open_access
faculties:Fakultät für Psychologie
Licence (English):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY 4.0 - Attribution 4.0 International