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Covert Processes at Work

Book Description

Organizational change initiatives often fail because they focus exclusively on the rational, overt aspects of change, overlooking the powerful role played by concealed or irrational factors. It’s well known that these covert processes—such as hidden agendas, blind spots, office politics, tacit assumptions, secret hopes, wishes and fears—frequently sabotage change efforts, but up until now nobody has offered a rigorous, consistent way of identifying and dealing with them. Drawing on over thirty years of experience as an organizational change consultant to global corporations and government agencies, Robert J. Marshak shows precisely how to bring these hidden processes to light and deal with their negative impact. Marshak identifies five different dimensions of covert processes, presents an integrated model to explain the ultimate source of all of them, and shows how to diagnose whether any covert processes might be at work in your organization. He then offers specific tools and techniques for engaging and managing these "under-the-table" processes and for creating the kind of organizational environment in which such hidden dynamics are unable to flourish. Covert Processes at Work is a comprehensive and practical guide that managers, leaders, and consultants can use to deal with the hidden dynamics that are often at the root of many organizational problems.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover Page
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Foreword
  5. Preface
    1. Purpose
    2. Organization
    3. Concluding Comments
  6. Acknowledgments
  7. CHAPTER 1: Covert Dimensions and Change
    1. The Limits of Rationality
    2. Some Often-Neglected Dimensions
    3. Beyond Good Reasons
    4. Dimensions of Change
    5. A Checklist for Change
    6. Conclusion
  8. CHAPTER 2: A Model for Understanding Covert Processes
    1. The Covert Processes Model
    2. The Focal System and Field of Experience
    3. The Prism and Its Contents
    4. Impacts of the Prism
    5. Overt Processes: What Goes On-the-Table
    6. Covert Processes: What Stays Off-the-Table
    7. The Model in Action: A Case Illustration
    8. Applying The Covert Processes Model
    9. Learning from the Whiz Tech Case
    10. Conclusion
  9. CHAPTER 3: Cues and Clues
    1. Diagnosing Covert Processes
    2. Diagnostic Formula
    3. Diagnosis in Action
    4. Covert Issues in Work Groups
    5. Conclusion
  10. CHAPTER 4: Decoding Subconscious Expressions
    1. Symbolic Communication
    2. Four Major Modalities (The 4 M’s)
    3. The 4 M’s in Action
    4. Symbolic Diagnosis Reminders
    5. Conclusion
  11. CHAPTER 5: Five Basic Keys
    1. Key 1: Create a Safe Environment
    2. Key 2: Seek Movement not Exposure
    3. Key 3: Assume People Are Trying Their Best
    4. Key 4: Look in the Mirror
    5. Key 5: Act Consistent with Expectations
    6. Conclusion
  12. CHAPTER 6: Putting Things On-the-Table
    1. Establish Legitimacy
    2. Create Enabling Conditions
    3. Be Strategic
    4. Be Subtle Sometimes
    5. U.S. Department of Agriculture
    6. The Four Approaches in Action
    7. Conclusion
  13. CHAPTER 7: Recognizing and Rethinking Interventions
    1. Interventions and the Prism
    2. Recognizing Interventions
    3. An Organizational Example
    4. Rethinking Interventions
    5. Challenging Beliefs in the Prism
    6. Worksheet for Rethinking Patterns
    7. Conclusion
  14. CHAPTER 8: Reframing Interventions
    1. Basics of Reframing
    2. Understanding Another’s Frame
    3. Six Principles of Reframing
    4. Reframing in Action
    5. Conclusion
  15. CHAPTER 9: Rethinking Organizational Politics
    1. Perspectives on Politics
    2. Operating from a Political Perspective
    3. Seeing Organizations as Political Systems
    4. Conclusion
  16. CHAPTER 10: Managing Covert Processes
    1. A Brief Summary
    2. Concluding Thoughts
    3. Conclusion
  17. Bibliography of Selected Topics
  18. References
  19. Index
  20. About the Author
  21. About Berrett-Koehler Publishers
    1. Be Connected