The emerging field of Dialogic OD

The emerging field of Dialogic OD

Dialogic OD is a term coined by Gervase Bushe (SFU) and Bob Marshak (American U.)  Like many scholar-practitioners, they had adapted organization development methods to better suit the complex world in which we work.  They had previously tried to label this shift in different ways, and landed on the phrase Dialogic OD.  If you attended the 2015 Royal Roads leadership conference, with the theme "," you heard Bushe present a keynote on his thinking.  Bushe and Marshak contrast Dialogic OD with more traditional Diagnostic OD approaches. Recently, Alice MacGillivray worked with Keith Ray, Joan Goppelt, Frank Barrett, Barbara Mink and Ilene Wasserman to design and deliver a workshop about practical applications and schools of thought that have fed into this concept (explicitly or implicitly).

For example, jazz metaphors used by authors including Frank Barrett come into play when you think of diagnostic OD being led by experts with answers, and dialogic OD as an improvisational process.  Complexity thinking can be seen behind the framing of diagnostic work to pre-plan change, whereas dialogic often encourages and monitors emergence with little pre-planning.  Many well known workplace practices, such as Open Space Technology and Work Out can be seen as Dialogic OD practices.  So there is an interesting tension between the eclectic, flowing and integrative nature of Dialogic OD, and the desire to brand it so people are drawn into focused conversations.  To learn more, there are several current publications including the 2015 book: "Dialogic Organization Development: The Theory and Practice of Transformational Change," and more publications to come.

Alice MacGillivray