• organizational learning;
  • organizational forgetting;
  • knowledge management;
  • organizational memory;
  • turnover;
  • routines;
  • structure


The research examined how knowledge embedded in an organization's structure can persist over time and buffer the organization from the disruptive effects of turnover. We hypothesized that turnover would affect the performance of organizations that are low in structure more than those that are high in structure. By contrast, we expected to see little difference between the performance of groups low and high in structure when there is no turnover. A total of 240 participants arranged in three-person groups performed five trials of a production-type task. The level of turnover and the structuring of activities were varied. Groups that were high in structure had specialized roles and routines; groups that were low in structure were not given any roles or routines. The analysis of the performance data revealed the predicted significant interaction between turnover and structure. Theoretical implications of the findings and directions for future research are discussed.