Chris Argyris (1923-2013), along with Warren Bennis, was the creator of organizational development and effective organizational change. He was a thought leader and a professor emeritus at Harvard Business School. He was the author of at least 20 books and numerous articles, some of them with co-authors such as Donald Schon.

Some of his more famous ideas included The Ladder of Influence and Double Loop Learning. He had many profound insights that still impact people, cultures and businesses today. Fearless Revival believes his Harvard Business Review article Skilled Incompetence is of vital importance.

Chris Argyris discusses effective corporate culture and business management in this YouTube video:

Selected Chris Argyris Quotes:
Managers who are skilled communicators may also be good at covering up real problems. – Chris Argyris Quotes

Success in the marketplace increasingly depends on learning, yet most people don’t know how to learn. – Chris Argyris Quotes

Individual learning is a necessary but insufficient condition for organizational learning. – Chris Argyris Quotes

Whenever undiscussables exist, their existence is also undiscussable. Moreover, both are covered up, because rules that make important issues undiscussables violate espoused norms… It is very difficult to manage [organizational defense routines]. They continue to exist and proliferate because they are relegated to the realm of “underground management” and all sides tacitly agree to this state of affairs. As a result, organizational defense routines often are very powerful. – Chris Argyris Quotes

Most people define learning too narrowly as mere ‘problem-solving’, so they focus on identifying and correcting errors in the external environment. Solving problems is important. But if learning is to persist, managers and employees must also look inward. The need to reflect critically on their own behaviour, identify the ways they often inadvertently contribute to the organisation’s problems, and then change how they act. – Chris Argyris Quotes

Chris Argyris Books:
1957 Personality and Organization: the Conflict between System and the Individual
1962 Interpersonal Competence and Organizational Effectiveness
1964 Integrating the Individual and the Organization
1965 Organization and Innovation
1970 Intervention Theory and Method: A Behavioral Science View
1971 Management and Organizational Development: the Path from XA to YB
1972 The Applicability of Organizational Sociology
1974 Behind the Front Page: Organizational Self-Renewal in a Metropolitan Newspaper
1974 Theory in Practice: Increasing Professional Effectiveness with Donald Alan Schon
1976 Increasing Leadership Effectiveness
1978 Regulating Business: the Search for an Optimum
1978 Organizational Learning: A Theory of Action Perspective with Donald Alan Schon
1980 Inner Contradictions of Rigorous Research
1982 Reasoning, Learning, and Action: Individual and Organizational
1985 Action Science: Concepts, Methods, and Skills for Research and Intervention with Robert W Putnam and Diana McLain Smith
1990 Overcoming Organizational Defenses: Facilitating Organizational Learning
1993 Knowledge for Action: A Guide to Overcoming Barriers to Organizational Change
1993 On Organizational Learning – 2nd edition 1999
1996 Organizational Learning II: Theory, Method and Practice with Donald Alan Schon
2000 Flawed Advice and the Management Trap: How Managers Can Know When They’re Getting Good Advice and When They’re Not
2004 Reasons and Rationalizations: The Limits to Organizational Knowledge
2010 Organizational Traps: Leadership, Culture, Organizational Design