Notes on Dialogic Organizational Development

Marc Rettig
Jan 29, 2017 · 7 min read

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Some key resources

From Marshak and Bushe, “An Introduction to Advances in Dialogic Organization Development” — the first article in this issue of OD Practitioner.

Diagnostic organizational development

Dialogic organizational development

Dialogic OD is based, in part, on a view of organizations as dialogic systems where individual, group, and organizational actions result from socially constructed realities created and sustained by the prevailing narratives, stories, metaphors, and conversations through which people make meaning about their experiences. From this perspective change results from changing the conversations that shape everyday thinking and behavior by involving more and different voices, altering how and which people engage with each other, and/or by stimulating alternative or generative images to shape how people think about things. Thus instead of change driven by diagnosing how to objectively align or re-align organizational elements (strategies, structures, systems, people practices, etc.) with the demands of a broader environment as suggested by open systems theory, the dialogic systems perspective invites considering how to induce new ways of thinking by altering the ongoing organizational conversations that continuously create, re-create, and frame understanding and action.

Bushe, Dialogic OD

A generic model of dialogic organizational consulting

You cannot plan transformational change like you can plan a project. When you begin you do not know exactly where you want to end up and you can be assured that unexpected things will happen. I find attempts to transform to some predetermined end almost never work and most often result in negative, unforeseen consequences (cf., Ogbonna & Wilkinson, 2003). You can, however, identify the challenge you want to address and you can plan how to address it.

The nature of generative images

Theory of change

Getting ready, and the necessity of sponsorship

Convening, containers, conversations of repair,…



To be continued…

Rettig’s Notes

Marc Rettig’s notes on getting from this to that

Marc Rettig

Written by

Fit Associates, SVA Design for Social Innovation, Carnegie Mellon School of Design

Rettig’s Notes

Marc Rettig’s notes on getting from this to that