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Institutional Memory as an aid to better decision-making

Examining how institutional memory interacts with policy processes.

The last few years have seen increased scholarly interest in the apparent demise of institutional memory within government. This research stream examines the extent of this demise and – importantly – what can actually be done about it. The power of storytelling looms large, with narratives providing many of the frames through which organisations remember what went wrong in the past. Embedded stories of failure – and indeed of success – get passed on not only through files but through social interaction.

The Bennett Institute is supporting a project – in partnership with colleagues from the University of Queensland, the University of Tasmania, and Southampton University – to examine how institutional memory interacts with policy processes.

Survey on Institutional Memory for civil servants

As part of this research, the team is currently seeking survey responses from civil servants – from a wide range of levels and government departments/agencies – on their perceptions of institutional memory in the civil service of the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.


The project is funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC). The Chief Investigators are Dr Alastair Stark (University of Queensland), Professor Heather Lovell (University of Tasmania), Professor Dennis C. Grube (University of Cambridge), and Professor Jack Corbett (University of Southampton).

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Professor Dennis Grube

Research lead in political decision-making

Dennis C. Grube is Professor of Politics and Public Policy at the University of Cambridge and research lead in political decision-making at the Bennett Institute for Public Policy. Biography Dennis’...

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