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Answers for questions to come: reflective dialogue as an enabler of strategic innovation

Claus D. Jacobs (Imagination Lab Foundation, Lausanne, Switzerland)
Loizos Th. Heracleous (Templeton College, Oxford University, Oxford, UK)

Journal of Organizational Change Management

ISSN: 0953-4814

Article publication date: 1 August 2005




To conceptualize and theorize dialogue's diagnostic as well as generative functions for strategic innovation and organizational change.


Conceptual development with case illustration.


Strategic innovation requires shifts in existing mental models of organizational actors that underlie the overall strategy paradigm of a firm. Dialogue as a form of reflective conversation enables actors to alter managers' mental models through conscious, critical exploration.

Research limitations/implications

Conceptual framework introduces reflective dialogue, as a crucial processual element for encouraging shifts in mental maps and as a necessary, but not sufficient condition for strategy innovation; provides an analytical framework for enhancing understanding of the emergent processes of strategic innovation, and for studying shifts in organizational actors' mental models.

Practical implications

Provides organizational change agents and strategists with perspectives and frameworks for appreciating and fostering reflective dialogue in the context of strategic thinking and innovation.


Concept of reflective dialogue and associated frameworks link micro‐levels and macro‐levels of strategy innovation and address critical process elements.



Jacobs, C.D. and Heracleous, L.T. (2005), "Answers for questions to come: reflective dialogue as an enabler of strategic innovation", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 18 No. 4, pp. 338-352.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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