The Forgotten Function of Forgetting: Revisiting Exploration and Exploitation in Organizational Learning
Soziale Systeme, Vol. 12, No. 1, pp. 99-119, 2006
21 Pages Posted: 26 Nov 2010
Date Written: May 7, 2006
Computational simulations have become a widely accepted method in organization science. Simulations allow for the exploration of potentialities beyond the restrictions of conventional empirical methodologies. Accordingly, we replicate, modify, and extend March’s “Model of Mutual Learning” from his 1991 article on the “Exploration and Exploitation in Organizational Learning” by drawing on Luhmann’s theory of social systems. While knowledge and learning are present features of March’s original model, this article particularly emphasizes the importance of forgetting rather than remembering as the primary function of memory. The extended simulation model shows that forgetting indeed positively contributes to organizational learning.
Keywords: computational simulation, theory of social systems, exploration and exploitation, organizational learning, organizational memory, forgetting
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