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A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.Francis Bacon

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Overcoming Organizational Defenses

Overcoming Organizational Defenses

Understanding the barriers to change and learning.

Author(s): Chris Argyris

Publisher: Allyn and Bacon

Date of publication: 1993

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Chris Argyris, a reputed professor at Harvard University, brought to light the existence of defense mechanisms that are omnipresent and unconscious, both at the individual level and across organizations. These defensive reactions prompt us to adopt behaviors that are detrimental to our own interests—whilst remaining convinced that we are doing what is in our power to change things!

This is the reason why most programs designed to modify dysfunctional behaviors do not have lasting effects. This book proposes an approach that aims at countering this danger. It highlights the need for a more constructive approach towards problems, which entails succeeding at giving up one’s defense mechanisms. Becoming aware of these reactions, exploring—and revisiting—the hypotheses that trigger them is an approach that can become a healthy habit. Indeed, this initially slows down decision-making. But it is probably the only way to have truly constructive exchanges and to find sustainable solutions to the problems encountered.

An essential reference book.