Management consulting is big business. Consultants often make very good money, and the good ones throw intriguing ideas on the table and get people excited about their work. But is any of their advice actually useful? Does it get implemented and lead to more productive workplaces? Chris Argyris thinks that most of it doesn't work, because it has too many "abstract claims, inconsistencies, and logical gaps to be useful as a concrete basis for concrete actions in concrete settings." No matter what managers hear from consultants, they ultimately resort to these five behaviors, according to Argyris: State a message that's inconsistent ("You're in charge of this, but check in with Steve"); act as if it's not inconsistent; make the inconsistency undiscussable; make the undiscussability undiscussable; act as if you're not doing any of the above. Flawed Advice and the Management Trap
shows managers how to break out. He shows that a choice is sound when the emphasis is on facts and accumulated data and isn't influenced by the relative power positions of the people involved.
Top company managers and human-resources professionals will probably find this book most interesting. For them, the ideas in Flawed Advice and the Management Trap show the path away from a management style that breeds resentment and internecine warfare and points toward one that allows the facts to speak for themselves. --Lou Schuler
"This is a book of monumental importance in the field of organizational change, from the world's leading authority in the organizational sciences. His insight into why change agents frequently fail to achieve their objectives draws not only on his years of scholarly work in the field but also
on his enormous corporate experience and his unique ability to articulate this. A MUST for all HR executives and change agents."--Cary L. Cooper, BUPA Professor of Organizational Psychology and Health, University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology