The Importance of IT on Preventing Organizational Amnesia: An Empirical Study on Preventin Organizational Amnesia

The Importance of IT on Preventing Organizational Amnesia: An Empirical Study on Preventin Organizational Amnesia

Gül Selin Erben (Beykent University, Turkey) and Arda Doğantemur (Independent Scholar, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5522-3.ch004


The ratio of benefiting from company's own memory is one of the most important factors for a company's success. However, firms are not aware of their memory capacity or failure to protect. Therefore, the success of the company is delayed and or affected negatively. Because of organizations' natural tendency to forget, memory loss is evaluated as an inevitable consequence. Memory loss or organizational amnesia at the organizations is defined as restricting the ability to develop organizational learning or failure to create a value by using owned information of the company. Organizational amnesia in organizations shows itself in various forms such as repetitive losses of competencies and previously learned information because effectiveness decrease leads to repetition of the same mistakes. In this context, the aim of this chapter is to create an organization memory database known as a knowledge repository in order to minimize memory loss in the organization and to determine the information types which is being recorded in the database.
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Types Of Knowledge

Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness or understanding of someone or something, such as facts, information, descriptions, or skills, which is acquired through experience or education by perceiving, discovering, or learning.

Organizations should determine its strategies in order to produce information. Moreover, that strategy determination can be completed after giving the decision who is the information creators. Level of individuals? Whole team? Or entire department? To reach that information, potential information creators should be detected in the company before starting to operate. When the organization cannot create information, it can not even mention the existence of information sharing and information usage. Individuals, teams or departments are the creators of information in the company because company by itself can never create information.

“The key players, departments and their interaction among each other, have an essential role during information creation.” (Nonaka, and Takeuchi, 1995; 14). Created information can be in two different form. Which are; “Explicit Knowledge” and “Tacit Knowledge” .

Explicit Knowledge is a knowledge that can be expressed clearly by words, symbols, pictures, photographs or diagrams. These explicit forms can be easily shared via presentations or verbal interactions. (Collins,2001;71) In explicit knowledge, academic or technical data can be expressed in formal language and can be stored in the company’s knowledge store. Explicit knowledge is stored in hierarchical structure. This type of knowledge can be very helpful for the potential problems which company will face in the future. Therefore, it is very important to save and store this kind of information in company’s knowledge store or database and re-access them when its needed. (Smith, 2001; 315). Tacit Knowledge is the collective information. Individual’s past experiences and the knowledge that is developed based on the beliefs and attitudes in their minds are the examples of tacit knowledge. There are two dimensions which are technical and cognitive. “Tacit knowledge's technical aspect is the information” (Barbiero, 2003;22). “Cognitive side consists of beliefs, ideals, ideas, opinions, stereotypes and mental models. (Barbiero, 2003;22).” These models are divided into two models. The first item is named as 'Human Information Processing' which means how human beings process the information in their mind by them. The second item is known as 'Social Information Processing'. In other words, people with a social presence by using their own social circles emphasize how information is handled. (Ocasio, 2001; 39-60).

Orgnizational Learning

Since 1980’s it has been understoof that the most valuable and important source of the organizations are its human resources. Therefore, to ensure organizational learning, companies need to focus on individual learning firstly. Individual learning does not guarantee organizational learning, but without presence of individual learning, organizational learning cannot be done (Senge, Personel Mastery,2004;132). One of the most important things in organization level is sharing information with each other in the organization. As a part of organizational culture, employee roles and principles play an effective and active role on the way of becoming a learning organization (Marquardt, 2002;12-14). Basic elements of creating a learning organization can be seen in figüre 1.

Figure 1.

Basic Elements of Learning Organization

Source: Marquardt, 2002

These five elements dynamically affect each other and they also complement each other on the way of being a learning organization. If one of these elements is weak or missing, all the rest are in danger or in risky situation. Learning process is the core of learning organizations.

Increased productivity in organizational level shows continuous and consistent development. Ray Stata (1998) explained the difference between organizational learning and, individual learning from the perspective of two different axes. Firstly; he specified that the ideas regarding organizational learning can be created via information and individual’s intellectual models in the company. Secondly Marquardt noted that organizational learning can be created via organization's past experiences and information (Marquardt, 2002; 43).

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