Discussing the Undiscussable: A Guide to Overcoming Defensive Routines in the Workplace

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John Wiley & Sons, Jan 3, 2008 - Business & Economics - 288 pages
Since his 1990 landmark book Overcoming Organizational Defenses, Chris Argyris has extensively researched and written about how well-meaning, smart people create vicious cycles of defensive behavior to protect themselves from embarrassment and threat. In Discussing the Undiscussable, Bill Noonan enlivens the scholarly work of Chris Argyris through the use of reflective exercises and easy-to-read chapters that illuminate the basic human experience endemic to the creation of defensive routines. This book offers hope for altering organizational defensive routines by leveraging the greatest opportunity for change—the way we think and act.

Discussing the Undiscussable provides a set of practical “how to do” exercises for detecting, surfacing, and discussing organizational defensive routines in a safe and productive way. The combination of text, business fable, and interactive and reflective exercises is versatile in its application to both individuals and groups. The companion DVD contains video vignettes of the book’s business fable where the actors model both defensive routines and virtuous cycles of behavior. Readers will instantly recognize what has long been going on in the workplace, and will be able to develop the skills to talk about it productively.


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User Review  - titusmars - LibraryThing

Bill Noonan adds an easy to read book to the library on how to use the concepts of Chris Argyris, to which I prefer to mention as Action Science. The DVD that is included is very useful in courses. Read full review

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Wonderful book! Everyone in leadership should go through it.
Krishna Bista
ASU-Jonesboro, AR


PART ONE Defining Defensive Routines
Bringing Defensive
Fix It Now or Fix It Later
Fix It
PART THREE Discussing the Undiscussable
PART FOUR Staying on the Path of Learning
Strategies for Case Study Groups
How to Use the DVD

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About the author (2008)

Bill Noonan is an educator and consultant with an international practice that includes facilitation, conducting workshops, and designing web-based learning programs. He has consulted to leading learning organizations such as Federal Express, Hewlett-Packard, Shell Oil Company, and Herman Miller.

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