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

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John Wiley & Sons, Jun 12, 2012 - 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

Contents

SEARCHING INSIDE
ITS NOT ABOUT FIXING SOMETHING
THE POWER OF REFLECTION
WHY BOTHER?
AN INVITATION TO REFLECT
CHAPTER EIGHT
ACTION DESIGNS ADVANCED VERSION OF THE LADDER OF INFERENCE
A LEARNING STANCE TOWARD DIFFERENCES

THE LADDER OF INFERENCE
ADVOCACY AND INQUIRY
PART TWO
CHAPTER THREE
SETTING THE STAGE FOR DEFENSIVE ROUTINES
CONDITIONS OF EMBARRASSMENT AND THREAT
CONSTANT THEMES
A CRUCIBLE FOR LEARNING OR JUST CAUSE FOR DEFENSE
CHAPTER FOUR
SQUARING OFF
WHAT CAUSES THE UNILATERAL CONTROL MODEL TO KICK IN?
THE MAIN FEATURES OF THE UNILATERAL CONTROL MODEL
THREE COMMON REACTIONS
CHAPTER FIVE
KEEP ON KEEPING ON
HOW DO WE KEEP DEFENSIVE ROUTINES IN PLACE?
MAKING THE WAY THINGS WORK AROUND HERE ROUTINE
PART THREE
CHAPTER SIX
THE INTERVIEW
ORGANIZING THE INFORMATION
MAPPING
CHAPTER SEVEN
A FOURSTEP PROCESS FOR ENGAGING DIFFERENCES
CHAPTER NINE
GRADUAL CHANGE OF THINKING
GRANTING LEGITIMACY
ASSUMING PARTIALITY
ATTRIBUTING POSITIVE INTENT
ACKNOWLEDGING IMPACT AND CONTRIBUTION
PUTTING THE ENABLERS TO WORK
PART FOUR
CHAPTER TEN
OBSTACLES TO LEARNING FROM OUR MISTAKES
THINKING OF MISTAKES AS PUZZLES
CHAPTER ELEVEN
OFF THE SCRIPT AND ON YOUR OWN
BECOMING PROFICIENT IN THE SKILLS
CONCLUSION
MAPPING INTERPERSONAL DEFENSIVE ROUTINES WITH A THINKINGACTION TEMPLATE
MAPPING A MANAGERTEAM INTERACTION
MAPPING AT THE ORGANIZATIONAL LEVEL
GROUP STRUCTURE AND PROCESS
STRATEGIES FOR CASE REFLECTION
SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS
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About the author (2012)

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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