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Title: Exploring linkages between unlearning and relearning in organizations
Authors: Sharma S.
Lenka, Usha
Published in: Learning Organization
Abstract: Purpose: Learning, unlearning and relearning (LUR) has been preached as a panacea to organizations. Whereas, research on learning and unlearning has grown exponentially, relearning is still considered as an obscure concept. This paper aims to provide a new insight on organizational relearning and highlight its linkages with organizational unlearning. Design/methodology/approach: This study is based upon a systematic literature review of organizational unlearning and organizational relearning. Papers expounding upon relearning were carefully analyzed vis-à-vis organizational unlearning. Findings: Organizational unlearning and organizational relearning assume a vital place in developing a learning organization. However, linking the two processes in a sequence tends to arouse certain conceptual difficulties. First, it is not necessary that relearning follows this prescribed ordering sequence. It is a process that can happen without prior unlearning. Second, based on the process model and multiple definitions of unlearning, the very purpose of organizational unlearning is to acquire new knowledge (relearning in literature). Therefore, in this sense, relearning seems to become a redundant concept and a neologism. As a result, this hampers the proper contextualization of relearning. Originality/value: This paper attempts to expound upon the debate of organizational relearning and its interplay with organizational unlearning. As the concept of lifelong learning and building learning organizations assumes the center stage in contemporary organizations, it is suggested that unless the conceptual issues of related to LUR are not adequately addressed, academicians will naturally find it difficult to prescribe proper course of action to practitioners. © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited.
Citation: Learning Organization (2019), 26(5): 500-517
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing Ltd.
Keywords: Learning
Organizational learning
Organizational relearning
Organizational unlearning
ISSN: 9696474
Author Scopus IDs: 57211422915
Author Affiliations: Sharma, S., Department of Management Studies, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, Roorkee, India
Lenka, U., Department of Management Studies, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, Roorkee, India
Corresponding Author: Sharma, S.; Department of Management Studies, Indian Institute of Technology RoorkeeIndia; email:
Appears in Collections:Journal Publications [MS]

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