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The IUP Journal of Knowledge Management :
On the Theoretical Foundations of Gen Inertia
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This paper addresses the foundational aspects of the theory of Gen inertia and attempts to emphasize the cognitive factors that account for learning inertia in organizations, and that which prevents employees from generating and absorbing new knowledge. The novel concept of Gen inertia helps us to understand the causes behind inertia in learning among the knowledge workers under organizational settings. This concept of ‘Gen inertia’ is distinct from the pre-existing concept of organizational knowledge inertia. This paper attempts to identify and underline the factors that act as impediments to effective organizational learning process. It deals with the existing causes that are responsible for knowledge (learning) inertia in knowledge organizations. The paper models several scenarios that presumably act as constraints, and therefore, help in uncovering the existing barriers and obstacles to effective knowledge acquisition. The model assists in building a system aimed to aid managers and trainers to recognize the underlying causes, which supposedly interfere with employees’ learning curve, both in the short run and long run. Finally, the paper aims to identify and overcome the nature of constraints that employees face while being part of a learning organization. Because it demands proficient handling of new knowledge, and because knowledge organizations subsist on the expertise of the knowledge workers, it is much relevant for the organizations to understand the existing problems that the knowledge workers face so as to enable them to compete with others in the market for knowledge resources. The present paper addresses all these issues and advocates several solutions to identify and then overcome the constraints and barriers to effective learning under organizational cluster settings.

 
 
 

I begin with an idea in mind about Gen being a quick fact or information essential in its most practical aspect. The idea is to link the concept of Gen with inertia to understand the dynamics of learning that has important cognitive and logical implications in organizational culture. And, it is this cognitive implication alongside others that has much bearing on the dynamics of organization learning. The paper uncovers the nature of inertia among knowledge workers and underpins the theoretical concept of Gen inertia in the context of organizational learning and knowledge management perspectives. By borrowing the concept of ‘inertia’ from the physics of mechanics, the present paper endeavors to understand how this law of motion can be applied to learning. This paper is concerned with the problems related to organizational learning paradigm that leads to a different kind of inertia—Gen inertia.

At the outset, it may seem to be rather homologous to the notion of knowledge inertia—the concept first proposed by Liao (see Liao, 2002). But we propose a different concept. The concept of Gen inertia (see Chatterjee, 2015), as such, has been introduced distinctively very recently in relation to the context of organizational knowledge inertia (see Liao, 2002; and Wang and Yang, 2013). Although the term ‘Gen inertia’ resembles the concept of ‘knowledge inertia’ in certain aspects, the former phrase differs from the latter in functional aspect. Inertia, nonetheless, being a concept in physics denotes resistance to an object that tends to change in a state of motion. Simply put, inertia refers to any obstruction or impediment, which hinders the motion of a moving object (Voigt, 1901; and Liao, 2002). Learning is a dynamic process. Organizational learning thus can be assumed to be a dynamic process as well, since scholars have attempted to understand interorganizational learning as a dynamic process (Mozzato and Bitencourt, 2014). Learning follows a definite trajectory; learning that employs extensive use of heuristics, skill development and insights is specifically a cognitive process (Fiol and Lyles, 1985). And knowledge being a dynamic variable, it constantly gets updated. The evolving processes and practices of learning require the involvement of the faculties of cognition. So, any impediment large enough to hinder learning (a cognitive process) leads to ‘inertia’ in the knowledge trajectory. The research question of importance in this paper, therefore, revolves around the foregoing fundamental aspects that could be simply represented as follows: (1) What is Gen inertia, and (2) What causes it?

 
 
 

Knowledge Management Journal, The theory of Gen inertia , Learning inertia in organizations, Responsible for knowledge (learning) inertia.