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Knowledge for Action : A Guide to Overcoming Barriers to Organizational Change - Chris Argyris

Knowledge for Action

A Guide to Overcoming Barriers to Organizational Change

Hardcover Published: 15th April 1993
ISBN: 9781555425197
Number Of Pages: 336

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The landmark book Action Science introduced a revolutionary theory of Organizational inquiry that demonstrated ways to solve problems, enhance human development and learning, and promote individual, organizational, and social change. Now, Chris Argyris translates the powerful theoretical approach presented in that work into practical advice for researchers and managers. Knowledge for Action presents a step-by-step description of how to assess an organization's capacity to learn, analyze the data, and design and implement effective interventions that help create a more dynamic and innovative organization. Argyris demonstrates how his proven research methods produce actionable knowledge - knowledge that tests the validity of the research methods themselves when used in day-to-day operations - and calls for a genuine partnership between professionals and researchers both to implement the research properly and to test its results in everyday life. Using a detailed case study of a professional service organization, Argyris illustrates how to reduce counterproductive politics and implement change from the top down. Drawing from interviews with and observations of top management, he shows how to identify and correct defensive routines and political problems that occur in organizations. By presenting transcripts of actual discussions, the author reveals how previously "undiscussable" problems can be resolved and how adversarial relationships can be turned into productive partnerships. He includes checklists, charts, and scoring procedures that researchers and line managers can use to make lasting changes to the status quo.

Industry Reviews

"Knowledge for Action is must reading for academics and executives alike. Chris Argyris once again demonstrates that he is the leading scholar in helping us understand why individuals and organizations are unable to learn from their actions and what steps must be taken to develop this essential capability. No executive who desires his organization to improve and learn continuously, or academic who wants to develop usable as opposed to merely useful theory, can do so without understanding the message of this book." (Michael Beer, professor of business administration, Harvard Business School)


Ineffective Learning in Organizations.

Defensive Routines That Limit Learning.


Step One: Interview and Observe the Players.

Step Two: Organize the Findings for Learning and Action.

Step Three: Conduct Meaningful Feedback Sessions.

Step Four: Facilitate the Change Seminar with Live Cases.


Explosive Relationships: Stopping Button Pushing.

Mistrust: Overcoming Resentment and Rebuilding Trust.

New Team Leadership: Managing the Clash of Expectations and Needs.

CEO's Performance Review: Getting Feedback from Below.

Managing Exchanges That Could Go Ballistic: Discussing and Correcting Out-of-Control Routines.

Conclusion: A Model for Change and Improvement.

Appendix: Design Causality: Explaining, Acting On, and Integrating Diverse Perspectives.

ISBN: 9781555425197
ISBN-10: 1555425194
Series: Joint Publication in the Jossey-Bass Management Series and t
Audience: General
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 336
Published: 15th April 1993
Publisher: JOSSEY BASS
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.65 x 15.95  x 2.77
Weight (kg): 0.59
Edition Number: 1