Organizational Learning: Understanding Cognitive Barriers and What Organizations Can Do about Them

Jose D. Balarezo, Nicolai J. Foss, Bo Bernhard Nielsen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

Much progress has been made with respect to improving our understanding of organizational learning. However, important gaps remain with respect to understanding barriers to learning flows that are rooted in bounded rationality and how such barriers can be reduced. We show how manifestations of bounded rationality in the form of framing effects and cognitive biases can act as barriers to learning at the individual, group, and organizational levels. We theorize that organizations can cope with these barriers to learning by deploying managerial practices that function as organizational repairs. More specifically, we add 3Is to the 4I framework by showing how intervening, inducing, and inquiring practices can attenuate these cognitive barriers to organizational learning. The three kinds of organizational repairs differ in terms of how directly they engage with the learning behaviors of organizational members. They range from direct managerial interventions (intervening) to incentivizing or nudging organizational members to engage in learning behaviors (inducing) to building a culture of reflexivity (inquiring). Throughout the paper we critically reflect on the explicit and implicit assumptions in the 4I framework as well as our extension of it.
Original languageEnglish
JournalManagement Learning
Number of pages28
ISSN1350-5076
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Nov 2023

Bibliographical note

Epub ahead of print. Published online: November 27, 2023.

Keywords

  • Bounded rationality
  • Cognitive barriers
  • Cognitive bias
  • Organizational learning
  • Organizational repair
  • 4l framework

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