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Constructive Discourse and Human Organization

ISBN: 978-0-76230-892-7, eISBN: 978-1-84950-159-0

Publication date: 6 May 2004


In this chapter we are exploring Appreciative Inquiry within organizations through the dialogic process in its relational aspect. The present discussion is composed of four parts: An exploration of the myriad meanings of dialogue and a description of a useful orienting platform, dialogue as “discursive coordination.” We then turn to the pivotal function of dialogue in the organizing process and the development of a vocabulary of discursive action with practical consequences for effective organizing. We next turn to the problematic potentials of dialogue. A contrast between generative and degenerative dialogue enables us to explore how certain forms of coordination ultimately lead to organizational growth or demise. Among our conclusions we propose that dialogue originates in public, is a form of joint-action, is embodied and contextually embedded, as well as historically and culturally situated. Dialogue may serve both positive and negative ends. Described are four aspects of dialogue – an emphasis on affirmation, productive difference, coherence, and temporal integration. Appreciative inquiry adds an enormously important element to the transformative potentials of dialogue. Other transformative practices and potentials are also described.


Gergen, M.M., Gergen, K.J. and Barrett, F. (2004), "APPRECIATIVE INQUIRY AS DIALOGUE: GENERATIVE AND TRANSFORMATIVE", Cooperrider, D.L. and Avital, M. (Ed.) Constructive Discourse and Human Organization (Advances in Appreciative Inquiry, Vol. 1), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 3-27.



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