The article «It Did Not Work? Unlearn and Try Again – Unlearning Success and Failure Beliefs in Changing Environments» co-authored by Professor Keil with Associate Professor Dirk Martignoni (USI Lugano) has been accepted for publication in Strategic Management Journal.
This study investigates the implications of unlearning for an organization’s ability to adapt to a (more or less) changing environment. Martignoni and Keil show that organizations should unlearn selectively because unlearning success beliefs (i.e., beliefs about what has worked in the past) has different implications from unlearning of failure beliefs (i.e., beliefs what has not worked in the past). Most importantly, the study suggests that organizations should focus on unlearning failure rather than success beliefs, in particular given the difficulties of unlearning old (success) beliefs and the problems associated with knowing when old beliefs turned obsolete by environmental changes. In focusing on unlearning failure beliefs, organizations also pursue a less risky strategy than with unlearning success beliefs.