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Organizational unlearning: the challenges of a developing phenomenon

Karen Becker (University of the Sunshine Coast, Sunshine Coast, Australia)

The Learning Organization

ISSN: 0969-6474

Publication date: 8 July 2019

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to provide a synthesis of the contributions to this special issue focusing on organizational unlearning.

Design/methodology/approach

The papers were examined in depth to identify the key contributions and areas of ongoing concern for those researching unlearning.

Findings

Each paper was noted as making a unique contribution to the unlearning debate, and the authors’ understanding of this critical issue, however, areas of divergence or contradiction remain. Although the special issue called for a range of disciplines to engage with the topic, it is clear that some disciplines and contexts have embraced the concept of unlearning more than others, and that there are some key issues that remain problematic for advancing research of this phenomenon. Two key imperatives include clarifying and aligning terminology and advancing stronger underpinning empirical research of unlearning.

Originality/value

The paper identifies the current contradictions and questions relating to organizational unlearning and argues that it is time for clarity and more empirical research about this critical topic.

Keywords

Citation

Becker, K. (2019), "Organizational unlearning: the challenges of a developing phenomenon", The Learning Organization, Vol. 26 No. 5, pp. 534-541. https://doi.org/10.1108/TLO-05-2019-0082

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited