Unlearning: A people development issue for sustainable change and innovation

Becker, Karen L. (2006) Unlearning: A people development issue for sustainable change and innovation. In 7th International CINet (Continuous Innovation Network) Conference, 8-12 September, Lucca, Italy.

[img] PDF (166kB)
Administrators only


In building an organisation’s innovation capacity, managers have to be aware of barriers to learning and have an understanding of the need to unlearn old ways. Unlearning is emerging as an important element of change and innovation in organisations. As the pace of change continues to increase, it is clear than normal processes of forgetting and transition may not be sufficient. Two key scholars in this area have proposed models of unlearning. Hedberg (1981) suggested that unlearning happens much like overwriting; new knowledge replaces or overwrites the old. Klein (1989) however proposed the parenthetic model, suggesting that the old knowledge remains (in parenthesis as it were), and may emerge in contexts where the new knowledge does not appear to apply.

This paper reports on case study research aimed at further developing the concept of unlearning at the level of the individual to inform the consideration of unlearning at the organisational level. A process model has emerged from the data that highlights inhibitors and enablers of the unlearning process as identified by participants in the study. The findings will provide an opportunity for further research to test the model. In an applied sense, the model provides managers with identifiable enablers and inhibitors of individual unlearning; issues which must then be addressed in change strategies at the organisational level.

Impact and interest:

Search Google Scholar™

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

ID Code: 10788
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: For more information, please refer to the conference’s website (see hypertext link) or contact the author.
Additional URLs:
Keywords: unlearning, change, development, innovation
ISBN: 9077360077
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Human Resources Management (150305)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2006 (please consult author)
Deposited On: 19 Nov 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:27

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page