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Argyris, Chris.  “Empowerment:  The Emperor’s New Clothes.”  Harvard Business Review, May-June 1998, pp. 98-105.

Argyris, Chris.  “Good Communication that Blocks Learning.”  Harvard Business Review, July-August 1994, pp. 77-85.

Argyris, Chris.  “Education for Leading-Learning.”  Organizational Dynamics, Winter 1993, pp 5-17.

Argyris, Chris.  “Teaching Smart People How To Learn.”  Harvard Business Review, May-June 1991, pp. 99-109.

Edmondson, Amy.  “Three faces of Eden: The Persistence of Competing Theories and Multiple Diagnoses in Organizational Intervention Research.”  Human Relations, Vol, 49, No.4, 1996

Edmondson, Amy, and Diana McLain Smith.  “Too Hot To Handle?  How To Manage Relationship Conflict.”  California Management Review, Vol. 49, No.1, Fall 2006, pp. 6-31.

Putnam, Robert.“Action Science.”  In Thorpe, Richard, and Robin Holt (eds.).  The Sage Dictionary of Qualitative Management Research.  Los Angeles:  Sage Publications, 2008.

Putnam, Robert.  “Transforming Social Practice:  An Action Science Perspective.”  Management Learning 30(2), June 1999, pp. 177-187.

Putnam, Robert.   “Unlocking Organizational Routines that Prevent Learning.”  The Systems Thinker, August 1993, pp. 1-4.

Putnam, Robert.  “Recipes and Reflective Learning:  What Would Prevent You From Saying It That Way?”  In Donald Schön,  ed., The Reflective Turn.  New York:  Teachers College Press, 1991.

Smith, Diana M. “Keeping a Strategic Dialogue Moving.”  Action Design, 1996. 

Smith, Diana M., “Different Portraits of Medical Practice: Model Conflict in Training Physicians to Think Family.” in Sawa, R.L., ed., Family Health Care.  Newbury Park, CA.: Sage Publications, 1992.


Argyris, Chris.  Reasons and Rationalizations:  The Limits to Organizational Knowledge.  New York:  Oxford University Press, 2004.

Argyris, Chris.  Flawed Advice and the Management Trap.  New York:  Oxford University Press, 2000.  A critique of advice about effective leadership and organizational change, and examples of effective corrective action.

Argyris, Chris.  Knowledge for Action.  San Francisco:  Jossey-Bass, 1993.  An in-depth case of an intervention program to overcome defensive routines in a professional firm.

Argyris, Chris.  On Organizational Learning.  Cambridge, MA:  Blackwell, 1993.  A collection of articles.  Topics include accounting and information systems, the defenses of change specialists, and the limits of orthodox research.

Argyris, Chris. Overcoming Organizational Defenses.  Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1990.  Presents Chris’ views of organizational defensive routines and what to do about them.

Argyris, Chris, Robert Putnam, and Diana McLain Smith. Action Science.  San Francisco:  Jossey-Bass, 1985.  Parts I and II are for the philosophically minded and for researchers.  Part III describes the process by which people begin to learn model II.

Argyris, Chris, and Donald Schön. Organizational Learning II.  Reading, MA:  Addison-Wesley, 1996.  A revised and expanded version of their 1978 classic, taking the theory of action approach to the organizational level.

Argyris, Chris, and Donald Schön.  Theory in Practice.  San Francisco:  Jossey Bass, 1974.  The original presentation of the theory of action approach, this remains the best introduction.  The focus is on individuals and their theories-in-use.

Bossidy, Larry, and Ram Charan.  Execution:  The Discipline of Getting Things Done.  New York:  Crown Business, 2002.  Argues that “robust dialogue” is essential in making an organization effective.

Gill, Lucy.  How To Work With Just About Anyone.  New York:  Fireside, 1999.  An approach to improving relationships based on “the Palo Alto approach” developed at the Mental Research Institute.

Isaacs, William.  Dialogue and the Art of Thinking Together.  New York: Doubleday, 1999.

Kantor, David.  My Lover, Myself:  Self-Discovery Through Relationship.  New York:  Riverhead Books, 1999.

Kegan, Robert and Lisa Laskow Lahey.  How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work: Seven Languages for Transformation.  San Francisco:  Jossey Bass, 2000.

Kegan, Robert.  In Over Our Heads.  Cambridge, MA:  Harvard University Press.  1994.  A perspective on the developmental transformations necessary to meet the demands of modern life.

Kofman, Fred.  Conscious Business.  Boulder, CO:  Sounds True, 2006.

Maister, David, et al.  The Trusted Advisor.  New York:  The Free Press, 2000.

Martin, Roger.  The Responsibility Virus.  New York:  Basic Books, 2002.

Martin, Roger.  The Opposable Mind.  Boston:  Harvard Business School Press.  2007.

Noonan, William R.  Discussing The Undiscussable:  A Guide to Overcoming Defensive Routines in the Workplace.  San Francisco:  Jossey-Bass, 2007.

Russo, J. Edward, and Paul Schoemaker.  Decision Traps.  New York: Simaon and Schuster, 1990.  Characteristic errors in decision making and how to avoid them.

Schein, Edgar. DEC is Dead, Long Live DEC.  San Francisco:  Berrett-Koehler, 2003.  A study of the interaction of technology, organization, and culture in the growth and decline of a company, by one who consulted to the top group for twenty-five years.

Schein, Edgar.  Process Consultation (two volumes).  Reading, MA:  Addison-Wesley, 1987, 1988.  Readable introduction to the basics of facilitating group process.

Schön, Donald.  Educating the Reflective Practitioner.  San Francisco:  Jossey-Bass, 1987.  Chapter 10 is perhaps the most readable account of the learning process that occurs in seminars for model II skill development.

Schön, Donald.  The Reflective Practitioner.  New York:  Basic Books, 1983.  A path-breaking way of thinking about professional artistry.

Schön, Donald, and Martin Rein.  Frame Reflection.  New York:  Basic Books, 1994.  A perspective on policy controversy as a design conversation among parties with clashing frames.

Schwarz, Roger.  The Skilled Facilitator (2nd Edition).  San Francisco:  Jossey-Bass, 2002.  Detailed treatment based on the theories of Argyris and Schein.

Schwarz, Roger, et al.  The Skilled Facilitator Fieldbook. San Francisco:  Jossey-Bass, 2005.

Senge, Peter.  The Fifth Discipline.  New York:  Doubleday, 1990.  Chapter 10 (“Mental Models”) provides a good description of some basic concepts.

Senge, Peter, Charlotte Roberts, Richard Ross, Bryan Smith, and Art Kleiner.  The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook.  New York:  Doubleday, 1994. See especially “The Ladder of Inference,” “The Left-Hand Column,” and “Balancing Inquiry and Advocacy,” pp. 242-259.

Senge, Peter, Art Kleiner, Charlotte Roberts, Richard Ross, George Roth, and Bryan Smith.  The Dance of Change.  New York:  Doubleday, 1999.

Smith, Diana McLain.  Divide or Conquer:  How Great Teams Turn Conflict into Strength.  New York:  Portfolio Penguin Group, 2008.  Relationships among senior leaders as a key point of leverage.  Diana is a partner in Action Design.

Stone, Douglas, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen.  Difficult Conversations:  How To Discuss What Matters Most.  New York:  Viking, 1999.  A Getting To Yes style book that builds on key ideas from the domain in which Action Design works.

Torbert, William, et al.  Action Inquiry:  The Secret of Timely and Transforming Leadership.  San Francisco:  Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2004.

Torbert, William. The Power of Balance:  Transforming Self, Society, and Scientific Inquiry.  Newbury Park, CA:  Sage, 1991.

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