Organizational unlearning: a risky food safety strategy?

Manning, L., Morris, W. and Birchmore, I. (2023) Organizational unlearning: a risky food safety strategy? Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety . ISSN 1541-4337

Organizational unlearning: a risky food safety strategy?
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Strategically unlearning specific knowledge, behaviors and practices facilitates product and process innovation, business model evolution, new market opportunities and is essential to meet emergent supply chain and customer requirements. Indeed, addressing societal concerns such as climate change, and net zero means elements of contemporary practice in food supply chains need to be unlearned to ensure new practices are adopted. However, unlearning is a risky process if crucial knowledge is lost, for example if knowledge is situated in the supply base not the organization itself, or there is insufficient organizational food safety knowledge generation, curation and management when new practices/processes are designed and implemented. An exploratory, critical review of management and food safety academic and grey literature is undertaken that aims to consider the cycle of unlearning, learning and relearning in food organizations and supply chains with particular emphasis on organizational innovation, inertia and the impact on food safety management systems and food safety performance. Findings demonstrate it is critical with food safety practices, such as duration date coding or refrigeration practices that organizations ‘unlearn’ in a way that does not increase organizational, food safety or public health risk. This paper contributes to extant literature by highlighting the organizational vulnerabilities that can arise when strategically unlearning to promote sustainability in a food supply context. Mitigating such organizational, food safety and public health risk means organizations must simultaneously drive unlearning, learning and relearning as a dynamic integrated knowledge acquisition and management approach. The research implications are of value to academics, business managers and wider industry.

Keywords:unlearning, food safety, risk, performance, Knowledge management, Knowledge acquisition
Subjects:D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D690 Food studies not elsewhere classified
N Business and Administrative studies > N210 Management Techniques
Divisions:College of Science > Lincoln Institute for Agri-Food Technology
ID Code:53440
Deposited On:15 Feb 2023 12:03

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