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Organizational memory (OM) (sometimes called institutional or corporate memory) is the accumulated body of data, information, and knowledge created in the course of an organization's existence.
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- Organizations do not literally remember.
- Rules, procedures, technologies, beliefs and cultures are conserved through systems of socialization and control.
- Barbara Levitt and James G. March. (1996: 524) as cited in: Fiedler, Marina, and Isabell Welpe. "How do organizations remember? The influence of organizational structure on organizational memory." Organization Studies 31.4 (2010): 381-407.
- Change that works by recapturing something that was there in the past has many resources on which to draw and a whole network of support on which to rely.
- Alan M. Kantrow, The Constraints of Corporate Tradition: Doing the Correct Thing Not Just What the Past Dictates. 1987. p. 147. As cited in: James P. Walsh and G.R. Ungson. "Organizational memory." 1991, p. 72
- Organizations are mental entities capable of thought.
- Lloyd E. Sandelands and R.E. Stablein (1987, 136) as cited in: James P. Walsh and G.R. Ungson. "Organizational memory." 1991, p. 59.
- A memory is a persistent record not dependent on a tight coupling between sender and receiver.
- Eric W. Stein, "Organization memory: Review of concepts and recommendations for management." International journal of information management 15.1 (1995): 17-32. as cited in: Linda Argote (2012), Organizational Learning: Creating, Retaining and Transferring Knowledge. p. 72
- Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
- The extant representations of the concept of organizational memory are fragmented and underdeveloped. In developing a more coherent theory, we address possible concerns about anthropomorphism; define organizational memory and elaborate on its structure; and discuss the processes of information acquisition, retention, and retrieval. Next, these processes undergrid a discussion of how organizational memory can be used, misused, or abused in the management of organizations.
- James P. Walsh and Gerardo Rivera Ungson. "Organizational memory." Academy of management review 16.1 (1991): 57-91. p. 57
- In its most basic sense, organizational memory refers to stored information from an organization's history that can be brought to bear on present decisions. This information is stored as a consequence of implementing decisions to which they refer, by individual recollections, and through shared interpretations.
- James P. Walsh and Gerardo Rivera Ungson. "Organizational memory." Academy of management review 16.1 (1991): 57-91. p. 61