Organizational Learning: A Theory of Action Perspective (Addison-Wesley Series on Organization Development.)

Chris Argyris

Language: English

Pages: 356

ISBN: 0201001748

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


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they cannot correct the error by getting the new division to perform more effectively under existing norms; indeed, the more effective the new division is, the more its results will plunge the managers into conflict. The managers must discover that it is the norm for predictable management which they hold, perhaps tacitly, that conflicts with their wish to achieve corporate growth through technological innovation. Then the managers must undertake an inquiry which resolves the conflicting

possible to discover inadequacies in organizational theory of action. Inadequacies-mistaken assumptions, incongruities, incompatibilitiesmust be resolved in order to correct the errors they generate. Their resolution is central to the restructuring of organizational theory of action. In an idealized organizational learning process these stages are sequential. But in reality, conditions for error and their corrective responses (shown schematically in Table 3.1) are intertwined. In Carlos's case,

becomes a very sensitive one. Everyone looks to him as a source of feedback to the staff group about the Board's actions and attitudes. There's a staff meeting every week, but it's mostly taken up with the work we need to do in order to "prep" for the Board meetings. We have raised a number of important issues in the last 24 hours. I think it's very important that there be some clearly perceptible action in response to them. Otherwise, the learning is likely to be that when one talks Case 1:

primary loops tend to reinforce his unawareness. Within the loop described in his case, for example, Carlos blames his failure on the Program Manager or on the unreasonable behavior of staff members. He sees the ambiguity of role definition, in which he and the Program Manager are both embroiled, as the latter's failure to take a finn stand. Such perceptions, sustained by the primary loop, are incompatible with awareness of the loop itself, Carlos's contribution to the loop, or the conditions for

help that can be given to clients, even though the field is primitive and the technology crude. Finally, as we shall show in the following chapter, we are heartened by the fact that the resistance and concerns individuals may have about transforming the organization's learning system are also sources for energy to learn and to change. The questioning of one's assumptions and the facing of one's resistances to this questioning, are not counterproductive; indeed, they can be the basis for

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