Teaching People to Shift Cognitive Gears: Overcoming Resistance on the Road to Model II

Victor Jay Friedman, Raanan Lipshitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Reflective thinking is an active, conscious mode of cognition that plays an important role in problem solving and in learning. However, most people tend to resist switching from an automatic to a conscious, reflective mode of thinking under conditions of ambiguity and threat. Chris Argyris and Donald Schon have developed a theory to explain this resistance and a method for “unfreezing” automatic reasoning processes so that people can learn a more reflective kind of thinking (Model II). This case study describes problems the authors encountered in using one of the Argyris-Schon unfreezing methods (the X-Y Exercise) and the process through which the problem was reframed and eventually solved. On the basis of this case study, the authors explore the sources of resistance to Model II thinking and critique methods of unfreezing that focus on confronting and working through defensiveness. Finally, they propose an alternative unfreezing model based on the concept of “reconceptualization.”.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-136
Number of pages19
JournalThe Journal of Applied Behavioral Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Teaching People to Shift Cognitive Gears: Overcoming Resistance on the Road to Model II'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this