Open Access Article

Title: The impact of organisational crisis on forgetting and relearning: an empirical study of unlearning in the Japanese electrical industry

Authors: Pingsong Qian; Akitsu Oe

Addresses: Graduate School of Management, Tokyo University of Science, No. 1-11-2, Fujimi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan ' School of Management, Tokyo University of Science, No. 1-11-2, Fujimi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan

Abstract: This research examines the trigger for top management team (TMT) unlearning and forgetting in organisational crises and the mechanism of their effects on organisational performance. The analysis uses a total of 2020 panel data from 202 listed firms across ten periods in the Japanese electrical equipment industry from 2008 to 2017, and multiple linear regression analysis using the random-effects model. The results demonstrate that TMT unlearning indirectly promotes organisational performance through the promotion of research and development (R&D) department unlearning. Furthermore, the occurrence of an organisational crisis promotes TMT unlearning and organisational forgetting. This study finds that although R&D department forgetting negatively affects organisational performance, R&D department unlearning has a positive effect, revealing the differences in the effects of forgetting and unlearning on organisational performance. Our study has theoretical contributions to research on organisational learning and organisational change and presents the importance of unlearning to firms and their stakeholders.

Keywords: unlearning; organisational forgetting; department unlearning; department forgetting; relearning; organisational learning; organisational change; top management team; TMT; electrical equipment; research and development.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTM.2024.135262

International Journal of Technology Management, 2024 Vol.94 No.1, pp.135 - 155

Accepted: 27 May 2023
Published online: 03 Dec 2023 *