Reasons and Rationalizations: The Limits to Organizational Knowledge

Paperback | January 11, 2006

EditorChris Argyris

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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 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 doublelearning, theory in use, and espoused 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 scrutinizes that capacity for 'unproductive reasoning' (self-deception and rationalization) that is common amongst managers, consultants, andindeed more generally. As well as engaging with the work of leading organizational researchers (Sennett, Gabriel, 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 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 developuseful knowledge and confront the defences and deceptions that are only too commonplace in the business and academic worlds.

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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 pro...

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 S...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.59 inPublished:January 11, 2006Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199286825

ISBN - 13:9780199286829

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Table of Contents

1. Introductory Remarks2. The Corrosion of Character: Capitalist and Socialist Economics3. Inhibiting Double-Loop Learning in Business Organizations4. Inhibiting Double-Loop Learning in Government and I.T.5. Features of Scholarly Inquiry that Inhibit Double-Loop Learning and Implementable Validity6. Interventions that Facilitate Double-Loop Learning7. Organizational Interventions that Facilitate Double-Loop Learning8. Concluding Comments

Editorial Reviews

`For nearly half a century, Chris Argyris has been seeking to make knowledge a guiding light for human action, and more specifically the vehicle for a more humane, more effective and indeed more just workplace. Few authors have made such a persuasive case for management learning as possessingthe potential of enlightening as well as liberating organizational participants from some of the unnecessary hardships and anguish that they experience as a routine part of their lives in organizations.'Management Learning