Linking Unlearning with Innovation through Organizational Memory and Technology


  • Juan-Gabriel Cegarra-Navarro


unlearning, technology, organizational memory, and innovation


While the information technologies provide organizational members with explicit concepts, such as writing instruction manuals, the 'organizational memory' provides individuals with tacit knowledge, such as systematic sets, routines and shared visions. This means that individuals within an organization learn by using both the organizational memory and the information technologies. They interact to reduce organizational information needs contributing to improve organizational innovativeness. However, the utilization of the organization memory or the technology infrastructure does not guarantee that appropriate information is used in appropriate circumstances or that information is appropriately updated. In other words, previous memories reflect a world that is only partially understood and assimilated, which might lead individuals to doing the wrong things right or the right things wrong. This paper examines the relative importance and significance of the existence of unlearning to the presence and nature of 'organizational memory and technology'. We further examine the effect of the existence of organizational memory and information technology on conditions that promote organizational innovativeness. These relationships are examined through an empirical investigation of 291 large Spanish companies. Our analysis found that if the organization considers the establishment of an unlearning culture as a prior step in the utilization of organization memory or the technology infrastructure through organizational innovativeness, then organization memory and technology have a positive influence on the conditions that stimulate organizational innovativeness.



1 Jan 2010