ERIC Number: EJ1176480
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018
Abstractor: As Provided
Organizational Unlearning: Time to Expand Our Horizons?
Learning Organization, v25 n3 p180-189 2018
Purpose: Interest in the topic of unlearning has grown in recent years, fueled by rapid changes in the business environment and resultant organizational change. This change challenges individuals and organizations to unlearn past knowledge and practice to embrace new organizational realities. However, much of the unlearning literature focuses on either individual or organizational factors that enable or hinder unlearning. This paper aims to look beyond the organizational boundary to question whether there are tensions between professionals and the organizations in which they work that influence organizational unlearning. Design/methodology/approach: This is a conceptual paper analyzing how professions are established to identify the implications for organizational unlearning. The critical elements of a profession are explored to identify the potential impact that professionals within the organization may have on organizational learning and unlearning. Findings: The paper argues that to facilitate unlearning, organizations must recognize not only internal factors but also external pressures on individuals and groups. In particular, professions with a strong identity may represent a significant force that can either engender or resist attempts to learn and unlearn by the organization. Originality/value: Within the existing unlearning literature, individual and organizational factors that facilitate or hinder unlearning have been widely canvased. However, little attention has been given to the factors beyond organizational boundaries that may also impact unlearning, particularly for individuals and groups with strong professional identities. This paper offers some unique insights into this potential factor for consideration by those seeking to enhance organizational unlearning.
Descriptors: Organizational Change, Professionalism, Professional Identity, Professional Autonomy, Socialization, Workplace Learning, Learning Strategies, Educational Practices, Organizational Culture
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
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