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ERIC Number: EJ1129878
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0969-6474
How the Concept of Organizational Unlearning Contributes to Studies of Learning Organizations: A Personal Reflection
Tsang, Eric W. K.
Learning Organization, v24 n1 p39-48 2017
Purpose: The first purpose of this short essay is to respond to Howells and Scholderer's (2016) harsh critique that organizational unlearning is a superfluous concept. The second purpose is to establish a relationship between organizational unlearning and the learning organization. Design/methodology/approach: To respond to Howells and Scholderer's critique, the author carefully examines their arguments--focusing on their comments on the author's previous publications--and checks whether the arguments are logical and coherent. To establish a relationship between organizational unlearning and the learning organization, the author draws on his own research of international joint ventures in China. Findings: Howells and Scholderer seriously miscited the ideas in one of the author's publications, and their main arguments are blatantly flawed. Moreover, they are unaware that many of the faults they find in the organizational unlearning literature are also present in the organizational learning literature. As to the second part of this essay, the study of the acquisition type of joint ventures clearly indicates the presence of organizational unlearning. Moreover, for such ventures to be learning organizations, the unlearning step has to be well managed. Research limitations/implications: As mentioned, the author's response to Howells and Scholderer's critique focuses on their comments on the author's publications. It is highly likely that they have made other erroneous arguments that this essay fails to capture. The author's discussion of unlearning and learning organizations is constrained by the context of acquisition joint ventures. Originality/value: This essay forcefully rebuts Howells and Scholderer's critique, which can become an obstacle in the development of organizational unlearning research. The dynamics of knowledge transfer in acquisition joint ventures suggest that skills of unlearning, and not just learning, are essential to reaching the goal of being a learning organization.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: China
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A