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Organizational memory: a qualitative research study on a multi-cultural organization

Cem Sen (NATO, Brussels, Belgium)
Korhan Arun (Tekirdag Namik Kemal Universitesi, Tekirdag, Turkey)
Olcay Okun (Tekirdag Namik Kemal Universitesi, Tekirdag, Turkey)


ISSN: 0368-492X

Article publication date: 28 December 2021

Issue publication date: 24 March 2023




This paper articulates a multi-contextual and dynamic system for memory research in relation to multi-cultural organizations (MCOs) by a qualitative research method.


Face-to-face semi-structured interviews were conducted with representatives of 30 national officers in North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to illuminate how the construction of organizational memory (OM) can then be compared and contrasted across different cultures.


The findings show that OM still mostly resides in individuals with the social transfer. However, even if, cultural aspects define what should be stored, time and purpose, the static memory of individuals becomes dynamic OM that is represented and interpreted in an organization's practices, policies and learning.


The primary contribution is to attempt to dissolve the seeming assumption of dialectical metaphoric perspectives of OM between different but related sub-communities of practice and outcomes. Consequently, socially constructed and individual memory models are necessary to integrate different metaphors according to the multi-context theory, which extends the understanding of the diversity between the cultural backgrounds of individuals and groups.



Funding: This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.


Sen, C., Arun, K. and Okun, O. (2023), "Organizational memory: a qualitative research study on a multi-cultural organization", Kybernetes, Vol. 52 No. 4, pp. 1528-1551.



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