IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Remembrance of Things Past? The Dynamics of Organizational Forgetting


  • Pablo Martin de Holan

    () (Instituto de Empresa and INCAE, Pinar 7, 1 ra Planta, Madrid, Spain 28006)

  • Nelson Phillips

    () (Judge Institute of Management Studies, University of Cambridge, Trumpington Street, Cambridge, United Kingdom CB2 1AG)


How organizations create, transfer, and retain knowledge has been the focus of intensive investigation by management researchers. However, one aspect of the dynamics of knowledge---organizational forgetting---has received comparatively little attention. In this paper, we draw on an exploratory, multiple-case study of learning in international strategic alliances to explore how and why organizations forget. Based on our case study, we develop a theory of organizational forgetting, discuss the role of forgetting in the dynamics of organizational knowledge, and present a typology of types of organizational forgetting.

Suggested Citation

  • Pablo Martin de Holan & Nelson Phillips, 2004. "Remembrance of Things Past? The Dynamics of Organizational Forgetting," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 50(11), pages 1603-1613, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:50:y:2004:i:11:p:1603-1613

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Koza, Mitchell & Lewin, Arie, 2000. "Managing partnerships and strategic alliances: raising the odds of success," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 146-151, April.
    2. Eric D. Darr & Linda Argote & Dennis Epple, 1995. "The Acquisition, Transfer, and Depreciation of Knowledge in Service Organizations: Productivity in Franchises," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 41(11), pages 1750-1762, November.
    3. C. Lanier Benkard, 2000. "Learning and Forgetting: The Dynamics of Aircraft Production," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 1034-1054, September.
    4. Linda Argote & Sara L. Beckman & Dennis Epple, 1990. "The Persistence and Transfer of Learning in Industrial Settings," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 36(2), pages 140-154, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Claussen, Jörg & Falck, Oliver & Grohsjean, Thorsten, 2012. "The strength of direct ties: Evidence from the electronic game industry," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 223-230.
    2. Dimo Dimov & Pablo Martin de Holan & Hana Milanov, 2012. "Learning patterns in venture capital investing in new industries," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(6), pages 1389-1426, December.
    3. C. Baden-Fuller & S.G. Winter, 2005. "Replicating Organizational Knowledge: Principles or Templates?," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2005-15, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
    4. Velu, C. & Iyer, S., 2008. "The Rationality of Irrationality for Managers: Returns- Based Beliefs and the Traveller’s Dilemma," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0826, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    5. Cegarra-Navarro, Juan Gabriel & Wensley, Anthony K.P., 2009. "Congenital learning in the Spanish telecommunication industry," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 24(6), pages 533-543, November.
    6. Dimo Dimov & Pablo Martin de Holan, 2010. "Firm Experience and Market Entry by Venture Capital Firms (1962-2004)," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 130-161, January.
    7. Christian W. Scheiner & Christian V. Baccarella & Nina Feller & Kai-Ingo Voigt & John Bessant, 2016. "Organisational And Individual Unlearning In Identification And Evaluation Of Technologies," International Journal of Innovation Management (ijim), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 20(02), pages 1-27, February.
    8. repec:pal:jorsoc:v:59:y:2008:i:12:d:10.1057_palgrave.jors.2602491 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Garnsey, Elizabeth & Lorenzoni, Gianni & Ferriani, Simone, 2008. "Speciation through entrepreneurial spin-off: The Acorn-ARM story," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 210-224, March.
    10. D. Mehta & Naveen K Mehta & Jitendra K. Sharma, 2011. "Knowledge Management in Economic Downturn: Indian Scenario," BRAND. Broad Research in Accounting, Negotiation, and Distribution, EduSoft Publishing, vol. 2(2), pages 16-21, October.
    11. Schneckenberg, Dirk & Truong, Yann & Mazloomi, Hamid, 2015. "Microfoundations of innovative capabilities: The leverage of collaborative technologies on organizational learning and knowledge management in a multinational corporation," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 356-368.
    12. repec:eee:proeco:v:189:y:2017:i:c:p:52-62 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Kent D. Miller & Shu-Jou Lin, 2015. "Analogical reasoning for diagnosing strategic issues in dynamic and complex environments," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(13), pages 2000-2020, December.
    14. Eric W. K. Tsang, 2016. "How Existing Organizational Practices Affect the Transfer of Practices to International Joint Ventures," Management International Review, Springer, vol. 56(4), pages 565-595, August.
    15. Aharonson, Barak S. & Schilling, Melissa A., 2016. "Mapping the technological landscape: Measuring technology distance, technological footprints, and technology evolution," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 81-96.
    16. Leal-Rodríguez, Antonio Luis & Eldridge, Stephen & Roldán, José Luis & Leal-Millán, Antonio Genaro & Ortega-Gutiérrez, Jaime, 2015. "Organizational unlearning, innovation outcomes, and performance: The moderating effect of firm size," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 68(4), pages 803-809.
    17. Yang, Kuo-Pin & Chou, Christine & Chiu, Yu-Jen, 2014. "How unlearning affects radical innovation: The dynamics of social capital and slack resources," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 152-163.
    18. Jiang Wei & Minfei Zhou & Mark Greeven & Hongyan Qu, 2016. "Economic governance, dual networks and innovative learning in five Chinese industrial clusters," Asia Pacific Journal of Management, Springer, vol. 33(4), pages 1037-1074, December.
    19. repec:eee:iburev:v:26:y:2017:i:5:p:908-926 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Isabelle Le Breton-Miller & Danny Miller, 2015. "The paradox of resource vulnerability: Considerations for organizational curatorship," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(3), pages 397-415, March.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:50:y:2004:i:11:p:1603-1613. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mirko Janc). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.