Cognitive Entrenchment, Expertise, & Flexibility

Cognitive entrenchment refers to “a high level of stability in one’s domain schemas” and arises largely from expertise.

As expertise is acquired through practice, “the content and relations comprising an expert’s domain schemas are likely to be activated and applied innumerable times”

Research suggests that as one acquires domain expertise, one loses flexibility with regard to problem solving, adaptation, and creative idea generation.

According to the author, inflexibility arises most directly not from expertise but, instead, from the high degree of cognitive entrenchment that often pervades experts’ domain schemas.

This is an excerpt from AOM article “Reconsidering the Trade-off Between Expertise and Flexibility: a Cognitive Entrenchment Perspective” by Erik Dane.

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