A list of literature we’ve cherry-picked from the knowledge-scape of elephant spotting and managing organisational relationships. Explore, learn, enjoy, and let us know what we have missed.


Top Five Resources

Argyris, C (1980) Making the Undiscussable and Its Undiscussability Discussable. Public Administration Review Vol 40(3) pp. 205-213

Marshak, RJ (2006) Covert Processes at Work: Managing the Hidden Dimensions of Organisational Change. Berrett-Koehler

Noonan, WR (2007) Discussing the Undiscussable: A Guide to Overcoming Defensive Routines in the Workplace. Jossey-Bass

Senge, P & McLain Smith, D (2011) Elephant in the Room: How Relationships Make or Break the Success of Leaders and Organizations. Jossey-Bass

Tate, W (2003) Organizational Shadow-side Audit. Cambridge Strategy Publications



Table 1: Elements of the two sides (extract from The Organisation Shadow-Side Audit (Tate) Source: Tate, W (2005) Working with the shadow side of organisations. Developing HR Strategy. May 2005


Easy Access

Online articles and quick reads.

Grenny. J (2010) Five crucial conversations corrupt safety. ISHN. October 2010

Grenny, J (2011) Handling Make-or-Break Conversations. Business Week. 23 September 2011

Tate, W (2005) Working with the shadow side of organisations. Developing HR Strategy. May 2005


Academic articles

Bickel, J; Rosenthal, SL. (2011). Difficult Issues in Mentoring: Recommendations on Making the “Undiscussable” Discussable. Vol 86(10) pp. 1229-1234

Burris, ER. (2012) The Risks and Rewards of Speaking Up: Managerial Responses to Employee Voice. Academy of Management Journal Vol 55(4) pp.851-875

de Vries, K.; Jehn, KA; Terwel, BW. (2012). When Employees Stop Talking and Start Fighting: The Detrimental Effects of Pseudo Voice in Organizations. Journal of Business Ethics. (105) pp. 221-230

Pelling, M., High, C., Dearing, J. & Smith, D. (2008) Shadow spaces for social learning: a relational understanding of adaptive capacity to climate change within organisations. Environment and Planning A, 40(4), pp.867-884

Shaw, P. (1997). Intervening in the shadow systems of organizations: Consulting from a complexity perspective”. Journal of Organisational Change Management. Vol 10(3) pp. 235-250



Argyris, C (1990) Overcoming Organizational Defenses. Allyn & Bacon

Egan, G (1994) Working the Shadow Side: A Guide to Positive Behind-the-Scenes Management. Jossey-Bass

Annis Hammond, S & Mayfield, AB (2004) The Thin Book Of Naming Elephants: How To Surface Undiscussables For Greater Organizational Success. Thin Book Publishing Co

Heffernan, M, Wilful Blindness, (2012) Simon & Schuster

Patterson, K, Grenny, J, McMillan, R & Switzler, A (2012) Crucial Conversations. McGraw-Hill