Publication 6431

Koskinen K. U. (2010) Organisational memories in project‐based companies: An autopoietic view. The Learning Organization 17(2): 149–162.
Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to describe project‐based companies’ knowledge production and memory development with the help of autopoietic epistemology. Design/methodology/approach – The discussion first defines the concept of a project‐based company. Then the discussion deals with the two epistemological assumptions, namely cognitivist and autopoietic epistemological assumptions. After that there follows an illustration of the concept of organisational memory. The main content of this article follows – namely the study on the autopoietic knowledge production and organisational memory development in the context of project‐based companies. Findings: Knowledge production in a project‐based company means that an individual team member, a project team and a project‐based company itself produce knowledge consistent with currently shared knowledge. That is, a project‐based company’s accumulation of organisational memory at various organisational levels is an expression of change in knowledge that always maintains compatibility between the autopoietic system (i.e. team member, project team or project‐based company) and its environment. Originality/value – The current theories about knowledge production and organisational memory development in project‐based companies are largely based on the idea of codability and transferability of knowledge between the people and across the borders. This type of thinking is based on the traditional cognitivist epistemology that means that knowledge represents external reality. The new autopoietic approach suggests transition from these theories to the theory of knowledge production as a creational matter, which type of thinking can potentially provide a new explanation for project‐based company’s organisational memory.
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