Purpose – The aim of this study is to analyze the influence of knowledge inertia in the intent to leave at the managerial levels of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This will help us understand the role of experience inertia and learning inertia in the behavior of managers. Furthermore, the influence of tenure on the development of knowledge inertia is investigated as a control variable. Design/methodology/approach – For this quantitative study, 400 SMEs from the manufacturing industry of the province of Konya, central Turkey, were selected through random sampling. Data was collected from only one middle or senior manager in each enterprise through a questionnaire and an analysis was performed to identify how two sub-dimensions of knowledge inertia, namely the experience and learning inertia influenced managerial intent to leave. Hypothesis, explanatory factor analysis, Spearman’s rank-order correlation test, linear regression, one-way variance analysis, and post-hoc tests were used in the analyses. Findings – According to the study results, experience inertia and learning inertia influence intent to leave at managerial levels and while the mean tenure creates a difference in experience inertia, no difference is found in terms of learning inertia. Discussion – In conclusion, it is found that intent to leave in middle and senior managers decreases with experience inertia and increases with learning inertia. Another conclusion of the study is that experience inertia increases with tenure, which, however, does not have a significant effect on learning inertia.
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