To read this content please select one of the options below:

Developmental magic? Two takes on a dialogue conference

Marianne Ekman Philips (National Institute for Working Life, Stockholm, Sweden)
Tony Huzzard (National Institute for Working Life, Malmö, Sweden)

Journal of Organizational Change Management

ISSN: 0953-4814

Article publication date: 20 February 2007




This paper draws on the metaphor of “magic” to explore the role of dialogue conferences and subsequent activities as a tool for organizational development and change. The metaphor is introduced and elaborated as a means of allowing critical reflection on action research projects.


In the empirical setting of a change project in a regional health authority in Sweden, researchers designed and facilitated a development coalition for introducing integrated care. This required an action research intervention that supported the establishment of new relationships and developmental practices across both organizational and professional boundaries.


The unfolding of developmental processes set in train by dialogue conferences are shown as being a dynamic process of magic underpinned by the principles of democratic dialogue.


By drawing attention to the three keywords of development, participation and dialogue three sites have been identified for critical reflection and reflexivity in action research. Magic is argued as an activity wherein the seemingly impossible is made to happen in these areas; equally it can be an activity of simple illusion whereby appearance is at odds with reality.



Ekman Philips, M. and Huzzard, T. (2007), "Developmental magic? Two takes on a dialogue conference", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 20 No. 1, pp. 8-25.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles