Collective forgetting in a changing organization: when memories become unusable and uprooted

Hamid Foroughi, Ismael Al-Amoudi

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Abstract

How is collective remembering inhibited by organisational changes which were not intended to manipulate it? And how does collective forgetting affect workers’ power and sense of identity? We rely on an ethnographic study of a charity organisation that went through recent organisational change to study two processes constitutive of collective forgetting. The first process consists in the past becoming unusable because once-useful memories lost their practical usefulness for participants’ new activities. The second process consists in the past becoming uprooted because the social relations through which memories used to be shared had changed beyond recognition. Our findings provide insights into the organisational processes through which memories cease to circulate. They also help understand the complex relations between memory, power relations and participants’ sense of identity.
Original languageEnglish
Article number0
Pages (from-to)449-470
Number of pages22
JournalOrganization Studies
Volume41
Issue number4
Early online date21 Mar 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020

Keywords

  • collective forgetting
  • Halbwachs
  • identity
  • memory
  • silence

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