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

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Overview


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.
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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

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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.

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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

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