Causes of Traps

Chris Argyris

in Organizational Traps

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780199586165
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191702426 | DOI:
Causes of Traps

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This chapter presents a theory that addresses the following questions: Why do human beings produce results that are counterproductive to their own stated interests and intentions? Why do they seem unaware that they are producing the counterproductive consequences while doing so? Why if pressed to become aware do they deny their personal causal responsibility followed by denying that they are denying? Why, if pressing continues, do they claim that they are victims of the actions of others? Why do they express a sense of helplessness? Why do they express a sincere doubt that these patterns are correctable — that is, a sense of being in a Trap. The chapter shows that Traps emerge and persist when individuals use Model I theory-in-use and defensive reasoning. They cause skilled incompetence, skilled unawareness, and self-protective actions such as denial of denying, and making issues undiscussable, including the undiscussability of the undiscussable. In order to reduce Traps, we must begin by addressing Model I theories-in-use and defensive reasoning.

Keywords: organizational behaviour; traps; denial; Model 1 theory-in-use; defensive reasoning

Chapter.  5476 words. 

Subjects: Organizational Theory and Behaviour

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