Organizational Traps: Leadership, Culture, Organizational Design

Paperback | January 5, 2012

byChris Argyris

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Anyone who has spent time in an organization knows that dysfunctional behavior abounds. Conflict is frequently avoided or pushed underground rather than dealt with openly. At the same time, the same arguments often burst out again and again, almost verbatim. Turf battles continue for extendedperiods without resolution. People nod their heads in agreement in meetings, and then rush out of the room to voice complaints to sympathetic ears in private. Worst of all, when people are asked if things will ever change, they throw up their hands in despair. They feel like victims trapped in anasylum. And people often are trapped. But they are not trapped by some oppressive regime or organizational structure that has been imposed on them. They are not victims. In fact, people themselves are responsible for making the status quo so resistant to change. We are trapped by our own behavior. Researchers and practitioners have often reflected on these things, but there is a puzzle. On the one hand, there is substantial agreement that these traps are counterproductive to effective performance. On the other hand, there is almost no focus on how organizational traps can be prevented orreduced. This book argues that whatever theory is used to describe and understand such organizational traps should be used to design and implement interventions that reduce and prevent them. Argyris is one of the world's leading management scholars whose work has consistently shed light on organizationalproblems. This book is essential reading for MBAs, managers, and consultants.

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From the Publisher

Anyone who has spent time in an organization knows that dysfunctional behavior abounds. Conflict is frequently avoided or pushed underground rather than dealt with openly. At the same time, the same arguments often burst out again and again, almost verbatim. Turf battles continue for extendedperiods without resolution. People nod their...

Chris Argyris is the James Bryant Conant Professor of Education and Organizational Behavior Emeritus at Harvard University. He has consulted to numerous private and governmental organizations. He has received many awards including thirteen honorary degrees and Lifetime Contribution Awards from the Academy of Management, American Psych...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:224 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.68 inPublished:January 5, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199639647

ISBN - 13:9780199639649

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Table of Contents

IntroductionPart I: Why we Act Against our own Stated Interests1. How we Deal with Difficult Situations2. Actions that Trap us3. Causes of TrapsPart II: How Conventional Approaches Bypass Traps - and What to do about it4. Leadership and Traps5. Culture, Leadership, and Traps6. Strengthening New ApproachesConclusion: Traps and the Human Predicament

Editorial Reviews

"It is rare for a serious management book to be a real page-turner, but this one is. Drawing on fascinating cases from a lifetime of research on group and organizational dynamics, Chris Argyris shows how our own reasoning processes entrap us in patterns of behavior that we detest but cannotchange. He explains how these traps become self-sealing and why even our best efforts to escape them merely tighten their bonds. The provocative strategy he offers for breaking out of our self-created traps merits close attention by anyone who seeks to improve life and work in organizations." --J. Richard Hackman, Edgar Pierce Professor of Social and Organizational Psychology, Harvard University