Organizational and Individual Learning and Forgetting

Posted: 20 Feb 2012

See all articles by Morris M. Kleiner

Morris M. Kleiner

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Jerry Nickelsburg

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Anderson Forecast

Adam M. Pilarski

AVITAS, Inc.

Date Written: January 1, 2012

Abstract

Researchers of industrial relations issues in manufacturing have long recognized that careful study of production has significant implications for labor productivity. Recent theory and analysis has shown the large influence of organizational forgetting. The authors of this study demonstrate that forgetting by workers in an establishment or line of production as a substantive characteristic of actual production processes is overstated and that alternative, simpler theoretical and empirical explanations have at least as good explanatory power. Using inside-the-firm analysis, they find that the omitted-variable bias in other studies due to data limitations has the potential for spurious estimates of large forgetting rates by lines of work. Further, they find that forgetting, although important and interesting, is not as influential as previous work for labor productivity has suggested. Further analysis of the production function and the role of organizational forgetting needs to be fully specified in a model to include internal production and labor relations characteristics, like those in this study, to be a plausible model of the production process within manufacturing establishments.

Keywords: industrial relations, firm performance

JEL Classification: L25

Suggested Citation

Kleiner, Morris M. and Nickelsburg, Jerry and Pilarski, Adam M., Organizational and Individual Learning and Forgetting (January 1, 2012). Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Vol. 65, No. 1, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2008335

Morris M. Kleiner (Contact Author)

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs ( email )

and the Industrial Relations Center
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States
612-625-2089 (Phone)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Jerry Nickelsburg

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Anderson Forecast ( email )

110 Westwood Plaza, Suite C525
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1481
United States

Adam M. Pilarski

AVITAS, Inc. ( email )

1835 Alexander Bell Drive
Suite 200
Reston, VA 20191
United States

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