Organizational Memory as Objects, Processes, and Trajectories: An Examination of Organizational Memory in Use
For proper knowledge management, organizations must consider how knowledge is kept and reused. The term organizational memory is due for an overhaul. Memory appears to be everywhere in organizations; yet, the term has been limited to only a few uses. Based on an ethnographic study of a telephone hotline group, this paper presents a micro-level, distributed cognition analysis of two hotline calls, the work activity surrounding the calls, and the memory used in the work activity. Drawing on the work of Star, Hutchins, and Strauss, the paper focuses on issues of applying past information for current use. Our work extends Strauss' and Hutchins' trajectories to get at the understanding of potential future use by participants and its role in current information storage. We also note the simultaneously shared provenance and governance of multiple memories – human and technical. This analysis and the theoretical framework we construct should be to be useful in further efforts in describing and analyzing organizational memory within the context of knowledge management efforts.