Intentional Forgetting in Socio-Digital Work Systems: System Characteristics and User-related Psychological Consequences on Emotion, Cognition, and Behavior

Ellwart Thomas, Ulfert Anna-Sophie, Antoni Conny H., Becker Jörg, Frings Christian, Göbel Kyra, Hertel Guido, Kluge Anette, Meeßen Sarah M., Niessen Cornelia, Nohe Christoph, Riehle Dennis M., Runge Yannick, Schmid Ute, Schüffler Arnulf, Siebers Michael, Sonnentag Sabine, Tempel Tobias, Thielsch Meinald T., Wehrt Wilken

Future work environments will offer technical applications to manage increasing amounts of information for organizations, teams, and individuals. In this context, psychological concepts of intentional forgetting (IF) can be applied to improve the performance of work systems or to extend the cognitive capacities of humans in technical systems. Different IF mechanisms have been suggested for assisting technology-aided IF, such as: (1) filtering of irrelevant or distressful information (e.g., by suppressing, deleting, or selecting), (2) delegating tasks from human to digital agents, changing roles, and reorganizing socio-digital work systems, or (3) systematic (re-)placement of retrieval cues or triggers to generate or suppress behavior. Due to these different underlying IF mechanisms, the implementation of IF at the individual, team, and organizational level will differ substantially between work areas or systems. In order to gain a better understanding of how socio-digital applications of IF impact human behavior and reactions, it is necessary to differentiate between relevant characteristics of socio-digital IF systems and gain an understanding of how these characteristics impact users' attitudes and performance. Thus, the present paper aims to classify and compare these characteristics of different applications of IF and introduces variables and methods to study psychological effects on users' behavior, experience, and affective reactions.

Intentional Forgetting; cognitive capacity; transactive memory systems; unlearning of routine; user experience

Publication type
Article in Journal

Peer reviewed

Publication status


AIS Transactions on Enterprise Systems




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