Organization

Topics: Sociology, Hippocampus, Episodic memory Pages: 20 (9508 words) Published: April 25, 2014
Organization Studies
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Social Remembering and Organizational Memory
Michael Rowlinson, Charles Booth, Peter Clark, Agnes Delahaye and Stephen Procter Organization Studies 2010 31: 69 originally published online 12 November 2009 DOI: 10.1177/0170840609347056
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article title

Social Remembering and Organizational Memory
Michael Rowlinson, Charles Booth, Peter Clark,
Agnes Delahaye and Stephen Procter

Abstract
Michael Rowlinson
Queen Mary
University of London,
UK
Charles Booth
University of the
West of England,
UK
Peter Clark
Queen Mary
University of London,
UK
Agnès Delahaye
Université Lyon 2
Lumière, Lyon,
France
Stephen Procter
University of
Newcastle, UK

Organization
Studies
31(01): 69–87
ISSN 0170–8406
Copyright © The
Author(s), 2010.
Reprints and
permissions:
http://www.sagepub.
co.uk/journals
permissions.nav
www.egosnet.org/os

Organizational Memory Studies (OMS) is limited by its managerialist, presentist preoccupation with the utility of memory for knowledge management. The dominant model of memory in OMS is that of a storage bin. But this model has been rejected by psychologists because it overlooks the distinctly human subjective experience of remembering, i.e. episodic memory. OMS also fails to take account of the specific social and historical contexts of organizational memory. The methodological individualism that is prevalent in OMS makes it difficult to engage with the rapidly expanding sociological and historical literature in social memory studies, where a more social constructionist approach to ‘collective memory’ is generally favoured. However, for its part social memory studies derived from Maurice Halbwachs neglects organizations, focusing primarily on the nation as a mnemonic community. From a critical perspective organizations can be seen as appropriating society’s memory through corporate sites of memory such as historical visitor attractions and corporate museums. There is scope for a sociological and historical reorientation within OMS, drawing on social memory studies and focusing on corporate sites of memory, such as The Henry Ford museum complex, as well as the mnemonic role of founders and beginnings in organizations. Taking a social constructionist, collectivist approach to social remembering in organizations allows connections to be made between memory and other research programmes, such as organizational culture studies. Keywords: collective memory, organizational history, organizational memory, social memory studies

If an ‘historic turn’ (Clark and Rowlinson 2004) is conceptualized as a reorientation, rather than merely a supplement to organization studies (Üsdi ken and ˛
Kieser 2004), then it should make the field more receptive to the broader humanities and social sciences. But following Walsh and Ungson (1991), organizational memory studies (henceforth OMS) has been limited by mechanical models, which treat memory as a storage bin, methodological individualism, and a managerialist preoccupation with the functional utility of memory for management decision making. By restricting itself to operationalizing an attenuated psychological typology of memory, OMS has cut itself off from...

Citations: http://oss.sagepub.com/content/31/1/69.refs.html
>> Version of Record - Feb 3, 2010
OnlineFirst Version of Record - Nov 12, 2009
What is This?
Downloaded from oss.sagepub.com at PONTIFICIA UNIV CATOLICA DO on November 19, 2013
article title
Author(s), 2010.
If an ‘historic turn’ (Clark and Rowlinson 2004) is conceptualized as a reorientation, rather than merely a supplement to organization studies (Üsdi ken and
˛
Kieser 2004), then it should make the field more receptive to the broader humanities and social sciences. But following Walsh and Ungson (1991), organizational
memory studies (henceforth OMS) has been limited by mechanical models, which
studies, and ‘the explosion of interest in … collective memory, cultural memory,
and commemoration’ (Bernstein 2004), or social remembering (Misztal 2003),
that comes together under the general rubric of ‘social memory studies’ (Olick
and Robbins 1998: 112; Olick 2008)
DOI: 10.1177/0170840609347056
Downloaded from oss.sagepub.com at PONTIFICIA UNIV CATOLICA DO on November 19, 2013
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