Intelligent Disobedience

Intelligent Disobedience

Doing Right When What You're Told to Do Is Wrong

Book - 2015
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Drawing on the concept of intelligent disobedience used in guide dog training that teaches them how to recognize and resist a command that would put their owners at risk, Chaleff, an executive coach and consultant, explains when and how to disobey inappropriate orders in any type of work or setting. He describes how individuals, parents, teachers, and organization leaders can learn and teach the skills of intelligent disobedience and addresses the cultural forces that value obedience, lessons from education and training that support knowing when and how to disobey, research on reducing the pressure for people to conform and obey when they should not, examples of individuals who obeyed when they should not have and those who did the right thing when told to do the wrong thing, leadership examples, and how the attributes of intelligent disobedience are key to a culture that values accountability, human dignity, and creative innovation. Annotation ©2015 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (

Ingram Publishing Services
Torture in Abu Ghraib prison.Corporate fraud. Falsified records at Veterans Administration hospitals.Teachers pressured to feed test answers to students. These scandals could have been prevented if, early on, people had said no to their higher-ups. In this timely new book, Ira Chaleff goes deeply into when and how to disobey inappropriate orders, reduce unacceptable risk, and find better ways to achieve legitimate goals.

The inspiration for the book, and its title, came from a concept used in guide dog training. Guide dogs must be able to recognize a command that would put their human and themselves at risk, effectively resist the command, and identify safer options for achieving the goal. This is precisely what Chaleff shows humans how to do.

He delves into the psychological dynamics of obedience, drawing in particular on what Stanley Milgram's seminal Yale experiments—in which volunteers were induced to administer shocks to innocent people—teach us about how to reduce compliance with harmful orders. Using dozens of vivid examples of historical events and everyday situations, Chaleff offers advice on judging whether intelligent disobedience is called for, how to effectively express opposition, and how to create a culture where, rather than “just following orders,” citizens are educated and encouraged to think about whether those orders make sense.

Publisher: Oakland, CA :, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.,, [2015]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781626564275
Characteristics: xvi, 206 pages ; 22 cm


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Jan 18, 2016

Help yourself and your children - read this book

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