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Marta Gasparin: Fritz Hansen and Organizational Memory

Business and Design Lab will start its Spring Seminar Series om January 23 and you are very welcome to join our activities and to subscribe to the mailing list by emailing elena.raviola@gu.se.

Title: “Objects as Mediators of Organizational Memory: Fritz Hansen and ‘classic’ Danish design”.

Date: 23 January 2020
Time: 10.30-12.00 followed by lunch
Place: Conference Room at Gothenburg Research Institute, Viktoriagatan 13.

Presenter: Marta Gasparin, Associate Professor in Innovation and Design Management, University of Leicester

We are very honored to open the seminar series this Spring with a guest, Marta Gasparin, that has long contributed to the field of Design Management. Marta is Associate Professor in Innovation and Design Management, University of Leicester, and she has extensively studied design firms, especially Fritz Hansen. She is also currently engaged in development work for the creative industries in Asian countries.


Organizations extract value from their own history by ‘making the past work’ in the present to inform their current operations and strategies. This is accomplished through organizational remembering. Recent approaches have rejected the ‘storage model’ of memory in favour of analysing the practices through which narratives and stories of past events are made relevant in the present. In extending this approach, we discuss a seemingly contradictory case of a Danish design company that appears to have a very poor organizational memory. Based on empirical material from an ethnographic study and using a social remembering approach derived from social psychology, we demonstrate that there may be ‘good organizational reasons for poor historical record keeping’. Whilst the company has an unevenly ordered archive, it also maintains a design museum containing a collection of its products. Key members of the organization are able to decipher and ‘read off’ the history of the company through the design and material form of the objects. We argue that embedding organizational memory within objects serves to create a discourse that is incorporated in material forms that then enable memories to circulate. At the same time, such material embedding of memory also excludes counter-narratives of the company’s history and strategically acts to disconnect the values and identity of the company from the time and place of their emergence.
Read more about Marta
Please register by email to elena.raviola@gu.se and let her know if you have any food allergy.

Page Manager: Carina Krantz|Last update: 1/15/2020

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