The emphasis on organizational change in the corporate life of recent years-including job redesign, autonomous groups, high performance work systems, and the redesign of control systems-owes a great deal to the pioneering work of Chris Argyris.This book examines how individuals in organizations can become more effective, in turn making organizations more effective. It explores the conventional pyramidal structure of organizations, in which there is top-down control by managers over workers, and examines their negative consequences. These include organizational injustice and eventually irrational decision-making. Argyris also discusses the characteristic learning system of the modern organization, which he describes as "single-loop" in character. This system, he argues, is only adequeate enough to permit the organization to implement existing policies. It does not permit the more difficult and comprehensive task of questioning underlying goals and assumptions, which he terms "doubt loop" learning. In this kind of learning, the organization is able to confront the more difficult problems that affect organizations in a time of transition.In his new introduction, Argyris reviews the strengths and limitations of the argument advanced in Integrating the Individual and the Organization. He describes why the pyramidal structure endures, and why creating a self-learning organization is an even more challenging task than he has imagined. The book will be of interest to professionals with a long-standing interest in organizational development as well as those just entering the field, managers confronting the challenge of organization change, and researchers in organizational behavior and theory.
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