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Knowledge Management and Unlearning/Forgetting

  • Karen L. Becker
Chapter

Abstract

The concept of unlearning emerged in response to recognition that individuals and organisations are not ‘blank slates’ and that existence of prior knowledge may hinder efforts to learn or acquire new knowledge. Knowledge management relies on the acquisition and sharing of knowledge by both individuals and organisations, and learning is an important part of this process. However, being willing and able to unlearn is proving to be just as important. Unlearning involves questioning existing knowledge and, in many cases, relinquishing what was previously thought to be ‘true’. The focus of this chapter on unlearning argues that releasing prior knowledge, or at least acknowledging its presence and shortcomings, may hold the key to successful knowledge management, for both individuals and collectives. The chapter provides an overview of unlearning and the key theories and models. It also provides examples of unlearning in practice and identifies tangible ways to facilitate unlearning in the workplace.

Keywords

Unlearning Learning Organisational unlearning Individual unlearning Forgetting 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karen L. Becker
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Arts, Business and Law, University of the Sunshine CoastSippy DownsAustralia

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