Actualizing organizational memory with information systems

Eric W. Stein, Vladimir Zwass

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

585 Scopus citations


Preservation of organizational memory becomes increasingly important to organizations as it is recognized that experiential knowledge is a key to competitiveness. With the development and widespread availability of advanced information technologies (IT), information systems become a vital part of this memory. We analyze existing conceptualizations and task-specific instances of IT-supported organizational memory. We then develop a model for an organizational memory information system (OMIS) that is rooted in the construct of organizational effectiveness. The framework offers four subsystems that support activities leading to organizational effectiveness. These subsystems rest on the foundation of five mnemonic functions that provide for acquisition, retention, maintenance, search, and retrieval of information. We then identify the factors that will limit the success of OMIS implementation, although full treatment of this issue is outside the scope of the paper. To initiate a research agenda on OMIS, we propose an initial contingency framework for OMIS development depending on the organization's environment and its life-cycle stage, and discuss the relationships between an OMIS and organizational learning and decision making.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-117
Number of pages33
JournalInformation Systems Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1995

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Management Information Systems
  • Information Systems
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Library and Information Sciences


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