Understanding Organizational Knowledge Loss (OKL): A Bibliometric Analysis


  • Joachim Lorenz Universitat Politècnica de València https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8900-9105
  • Conrado Carrascosa-Lopez Universitat Politècnica de València
  • M Rosario Perello-Marin Universitat Politècnica de València
  • Michael Müller




Bibliometric Analysis, Organizational Knowledge Loss, Knowledge Management, Absorptive Capacity, Intellectual Capital, Strategic Alliances


Purpose – Organizational knowledge loss (OKL) is an urgent problem in the field of knowledge management because it can have a negative impact on intellectual capital and leads to significant competitive disadvantages for the companies concerned. In academic research, this phenomenon is considered a consequence of knowledge risks, especially when experts possess valuable knowledge and leave a knowledge-intensive organization. However, a basic understanding of the conceptual structure of OKL remains elusive. Methodology To address the existing knowledge gap, we conducted a bibliometric analysis based on a network and factor-oriented approach to identify the key themes, contexts, and patterns of OKL. For this purpose, we obtained bibliometric data from the Web of Science and the Scopus databases. Using the advanced bibliometrics package Biblioshiny in R, we conducted performance analysis and science mapping. Findings – Based on our four research questions, we present the following key findings: First, we find that annual science production in the field of OKL research over the period 2004 to 2023 peaks in 2022. Second, we found that absorptive capacity (AC) is increasingly becoming a central theme in OKL research. Third, the average citation rate per year for OKL research has declined noticeably since 2020. Fourth, the most influential publications in OKL research deal with AC in the context of strategic alliances. Research limitations – This study focuses solely on researching the conceptual structure and thus does not consider the intellectual and social structure of OKL. Practical implications – In view of the results obtained, we recommend that future research work should further investigate the relationship between OKL as a focus of organizational forgetting and AC as a learning ability in an innovation environment. Originality/value – This paper is insightful, as it reveals the conceptual structure and thematic evolution of OKL and directs research interest to the field of learning organizations.