Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The potential and the challenge of shared memories

"By banking on memory, organizations can strengthen employee commitment. Many organizations, even relatively young ones, can project the future as a continuation of the past in order to gain member commitment.
Leveraging the power of shared memories,  the organization's values, purpose, and strategic direction can acquire enduring meaning, because they become personal. 
Collective memories of the organization become part of members’ autobiographical memory, which, in turn, underpins a sense of shared identity, goals and motivations. Members gain a deeper, more personal stake in the organization's goals and purpose. When times are tough and winds of change are blowing the organization becomes anchored in its people."

The preceding paragraphs are my paraphrase of an article  entitled "Academic view: Lest we forget" in the online version of "The Economist." 

Reading the article, which is relevant to companies who wish to leverage their history, caused me to reflect on the shared experiences of so many members of the Legionaries of Christ and its affiliate organization Regnum Christi.
The notion of shared organizational memories becoming "autobiographical" is interesting. It goes to explain the deep bonds that are formed, over the years, among members, which can remain years after the members exit the group. 
Granted the current process of reform being undertaken in the organizations largely as a result of the Founder's biography, the concept of "shared autobiographical memories" also poses a very real challenge.

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