The Role of Organizational Emotional Memory on Declarative and Procedural Memory and Firm Innovativeness

Akgun A. E., Keskin H., Byrne J.

JOURNAL OF PRODUCT INNOVATION MANAGEMENT, vol.29, no.3, pp.432-451, 2012 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 29 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Doi Number: 10.1111/j.1540-5885.2012.00916.x
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.432-451
  • Yıldız Technical University Affiliated: Yes


As a fascinating concept, organizational memory attracts many researchers from a variety of disciplines. Of particular interest are the components of organizational memory, which include declarative memory (i.e., memory for facts, events, or propositions including know-what, know-why, or know-when) and procedural memory (i.e., memory for how things are done or can be done, routines, or procedures). Given the importance of (1) declarative memory that allows people to analyze new problems, generate new interpretations of current information, and use that information in a variety of applications, and (2) procedural memory for guiding and influencing actions of individuals, and facilitating automatic behaviors and skills to speed up task executions in the organizations, it is clear why researchers indicate that these memory contents are critical for innovativeness in the firm. On the other hand, remarkably, there is sparse research in the literature on the emotional aspect of organizational memory (emotional memory) and its effect on firm innovativeness. Emotional memory in general is the storage of past emotional experiences or events in organizations. In this study, we operationalized an organization's emotional memory as a multidimensional construct involving past emotional experience level, dispersion, and storage in organizations. We also identified the past emotional experience vividness or clearance as a moderator factor determining the availability of the emotional memory in organizational memory. By studying 103 firms, and using the partial least squares method, we found that (1) emotional experience storage influences organizational declarative and procedural memory; (2) emotional experience dispersion impacts organizational procedural memory; and (3) emotional experience level affects the organizational declarative and procedural memory to the extent that emotional experience vividness or clearance increases. We also found that emotional experience dispersion has a direct influence on firm innovativeness. Finally, we demonstrated that organizational declarative memory partially mediates the relationship between organizational emotional memory and firm innovativeness, such that emotional experience storage influences innovativeness in the firm via organizational declarative memory. This study concludes with several theoretical and managerial implications.