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Unlearning and forgetting in organizations: a systematic review of literature

Adrian Klammer (Institute for Entrepreneurship, University of Liechtenstein, Vaduz, Liechtenstein)
Stefan Gueldenberg (Institute for Entrepreneurship, University of Liechtenstein, Vaduz, Liechtenstein)

Journal of Knowledge Management

ISSN: 1367-3270

Article publication date: 15 October 2018

Issue publication date: 17 June 2019

2003

Abstract

Purpose

Although still under-researched and characterized by a fragmented understanding, unlearning and forgetting have recently received increased scholarly attention. The purpose of this systematic literature review is to survey and evaluate key works in the field of organizational unlearning and forgetting. Through analyzing and synthesizing common themes, this paper aims to highlight research gaps and avenues for future research.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper follows a systematic approach of identifying, analyzing and synthesizing pertinent literature in the field of organizational unlearning and forgetting. In total, 63 works were thoroughly reviewed.

Findings

This paper highlights different levels and scopes, as well as antecedents and consequences of organizational unlearning and forgetting. Even though unlearning and forgetting has gained increased attention, researchers still need to provide robust conceptual and empirical evidence to advance the field.

Originality/value

By structuring the analysis and synthesis around various constructs, theories, typologies and related themes, this paper outlines several research gaps and proposes avenues for further research. Additionally, this systematic literature review resulted in the development of a framework based on the intentionality and depth of knowledge loss, which allows future researchers to position their research and differentiate themselves from other literature in the field.

Keywords

Citation

Klammer, A. and Gueldenberg, S. (2019), "Unlearning and forgetting in organizations: a systematic review of literature", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 23 No. 5, pp. 860-888. https://doi.org/10.1108/JKM-05-2018-0277

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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