Reasons and Rationalizations: The Limits to Organizational Knowledge / Edition 1

Hardcover (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $6.02
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 92%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (11) from $6.02   
  • New (6) from $17.11   
  • Used (5) from $6.02   


What is the purpose of social science and management research? Do scholars/researchers have a responsibility to generate insights and knowledge that are of practical (implementable) value and validity? We are told we live in turbulent and changing times, should this not provide an important opportunity for management researchers to provide understanding and guidance? Yet there is widespread concern about the efficacy of much research. These are some of the puzzles/pressing problems that Chris Argyris addresses in this short book. Argyris is one of the best known management scholars in the world- a leading light whose work has consistently addressed fundamental organizational questions and who has provided some of the key concepts and building blocks of our understanding of organizational learning-single and double learning, theory in use, and espounded theory, etc. In this book, he questions many of the assumptions of organizational theory and research, and his investigation is not confined to academic analysis. He also scruntizes that capacity for 'unproductive reasoning' (self-deception and rationalization) that is common amongst managers, consultants and indeed more generally. As well as engaging with the work of leading organizational researchers (Sennett, Gabreil, Burgelman, Czarniawska, Grint, for example) he also ponders the work of the consultants, commentators and accountants who endorsed Enron. Throughout his purpose is to affirm the goal and values of useful knowledge. His style/inquiry is direct but fair, challenging- if at times uncompromising. Drawing on his own wealth of experience of researching and working with organizations, this book will be a reference point for all concerned to develop useful knowledge and confront the defenses and deceptions that are only too commonplace in the business and academic worlds.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Reasons and Rationalizations is one of the most challenging and powerful books produced in the field of management for many years. It is not surprising when you consider why it was written by one of the world's leading management scholars. Professor Argyris' contribution to the management and applied social science literature has no rival, he is in a league literally by himself. This outstanding book is a must read for all managers and executives, academics in business schools, applied social scientists, and any others prepared to think about and confront the challenges of organizational life in our times.' "-Professor Cary L. Cooper, CBE, Lancaster University Management School, Lancaster University, England

"For the past 1/2 century, Chris Argyris has been one of the most important thinkers about organizations and personality and developing creative interventions to bring our the best of both. This book is (for me) his clearest, most cogent, and perhaps most important, in summing up a lifetime of thought and action and heart on the critical issue of how we live our lives in integrity, both in and out of organizations."-- Warren Bennis, Distinguished Professor of Business Administration at USC, Chair of Harvard University's Center for Public Leadership and author of On Becoming A Leader

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199268078
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 3/28/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 5.70 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Chris Argyris received his PhD in organizational behavior from Cornell University and served on the Yale University faculty for the next twenty years. He then became the James Bryant Conant Professor of Education and Organizational Behavior at Harvard University and held joint appointments over time at the Business, Law, and Kennedy Schools. His early research dealt with organizational structures and organizational change. His primary research methodology has been intervention, and his ongoing concern has been the applicability of knowledge.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

1. Introductory Remarks
2. The Corrosion of Character: Capitalist and Socialist Economics
3. Inhibiting Double-Loop Learning in Business Organizations
4. Inhibiting Double-Loop Learning in Government and I.T.
5. Features of Scholarly Inquiry that Inhibit Double-Loop Learning and Implementable Validity
6. Interventions that Facilitate Double-Loop Learning
7. Organizational Interventions that Facilitate Double-Loop Learning
8. Concluding Comments

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)