Both as power and a resource, knowledge is a significant asset both for individuals and organizations. Thus, knowledge management has become one of the important issues for enterprises. However, when facing problems, people generally resort to their prior knowledge and experience for solutions. Such routine problem-solving strategy is termed "knowledge inertia". This study aims to establish the constructs of knowledge inertia and examine the relationships between knowledge inertia, organizational learning and organizational innovation. Structural equation modeling is employed to discuss the degree of influence each construct has on each other and whether their relationships vary in different organization types. A questionnaire survey was conducted to collect data from government organizations as well as state-run and private enterprises. A total of 485 valid responses were collected. Our results reveal that knowledge inertia comprises both learning inertia and experience inertia. The relationships between the three variables are as follows. First, knowledge inertia exerts a mediating effect on organizational innovation through organizational learning. Second, when a firm's members have either less learning inertia or more experience inertia, the performance of the organizational learning will be better. (C) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.