Organizational Oscillation between Learning and Forgetting: The Dual Role of Serious Errors

Pamela R. Haunschild, Francisco Polidoro Jr., David Chandler
Organization Science,Vol. 26, Issue 6, Pages: 1682-1701.

We know that organizations change over time as a result of their ability to learn and their tendency to forget. What we know less about, however, is why they might change back, despite evidence suggesting that this occurs. In this paper, we develop and test a model of organizational oscillation that explains why firms cycle through periods of learning and periods of forgetting. In particular, we identify a dual role for serious errors, which push firms toward a focus on safety while also pulling them away from other foci, such as efficiency or …
[Full Text]