Posted: June 4th, 2021
First, this essay will explore the definitions of dialogue as well as organizational cultures and how these concepts related to each other. It is followed by a discussion on the ways that dialogue may have positive effects regarding the cultural aspects. The final section of this essay pays attention to the challenges of and solutions to implementing and promoting dialogue within an organization. There Is a variety of deflations of dialogue.
The derivation of this word stems from the Greek roots dialogs which consists of did and logos. Did means through, and logos means the word, or more specifically, the meaning of the word’ (Boom 1996, p. 6). Based on its origin, Boom (1996) defines dialogue as a combination of communication practices flowing through and among people, focused on discovering the essence and power of people thinking and how the group’s culture is built through this process.
Isaacs (1999) believes that dialogue Is, In particular, a flow of meaning, while Gerard and Eleanor (2001 ) define dialogue by contrasting It with discussion and conclude that dialogue is seeing the whole and connections between arts, learning through asking and answering, and creating shared meaning among group members. In further similarities, Gerard and Turfs (1995) assume that dialogue is concerned with the environment where belief and communication diversity are encouraged In terms of respects, honors and values, as well as awareness to raise the creation of shared meaning.
The role of dialogue in relation to organizational culture is of thorough understanding through many deferent organizational culture definitions. In fact, we all commonly think that it is the way we do things around but through research of organizational behavior, Machines, Lessons & Traveling (2013) believe it ‘consists of values and assumptions shared within an organization’ (p. 448). At the same time, for E. C. Martins and F. Turbulence (2003), the central Ingredient of culture Inside an organization is the subconscious shared values and beliefs.
A powerful culture offers shared values that ensure everyone in the organization focus on the same goals and objectives (Robbins, 1996). Organization has its culture usually performs higher in the market. In a word, the key feature of building and transforming organizational ultra Is creating and maintaining shared values that seem to be the main purposes of outlining dialogue among members. Through practicing dialogue, collective communication is created, and organizational culture is transformed. These aspects include transformation of member behavior, the experiential feeling of community and people’s attitudes.
Firstly, in the comparison between dialogue and discussion of Gerard and Eleanor (2001), the main role of dialogue is to help people learn how to communicate with each other differently and produce collective understanding. While in discussion, people intend to keep their opinions and only the most powerful and influenced person might decide the results of the whole group, dialogue, in contrast, gives members a commitment to a common set of guidelines (Gerard and Turfs 1995). Participants try to minimize conflicts and bring all different points of view into a standard value.
Therefore, the more often people practice dialogue, the more behavioral changing they have to integrate and sustain in community. Moreover, based on Bomb’s research in 1996, Isaacs (1999) stated four principles of dialogue which include listening, respecting, suspending and voicing. Among these principles, listening skill plays an important role in changing behavior of a group. As a whole song could not be sensed and understood through a single note (Isaacs 1999), organizational cultures and objectives are not able to be established by a single idea.
Hence, dialogue is a powerful tool to encourage people to listen thoroughly to others’ ideas and engage in the conversation. Then, shared meanings, or the culture of the company is gradually transformed. Secondly, by setting up the conditions of community, dialogue transforms the feeling of the corporation culture (Gerard and Turfs 1995). When a new group starts to involve in the community, dialogue will generate an atmosphere having the ‘experiential feel’ (Gerard and Turfs 1995, p. 148) of community.
In an organizational scope, employees commence to sense what the company’s culture would seem to be in full community based on its principles. Furthermore, for Sense (1995), dialogue is as a facilitator for team learning. He believes that team is the key feature to create shared values, and through the application of dialogue into team learning process, knowledge and feeling of the community cultures are transferred from one to others, ND individual’s values as well as beliefs are positively transformed and integrated into the collective cultures.
The final aspect that dialogue has the power to change the organizational culture is attitudinal transformation. As participants experience the effects of dialogue, the attitude level becomes as a ‘byproduct of the incorporation of new modes of behavior and learning the “feel” of what being in community is like’ (Gerard and Turfs 1995, p. 148). Then, cooperative and collaborative attitudes start to replace the attitudes of inflexible individualism. This statement is conformable with the research f Scheme (1993) where he describes dialogue as talking around the campfire’ (p. 391).
During the past time, meetings were usually held around a campfire where people could simply share their opinion without any discussion or arguments. Through that, (Scheme 1993) and spend time listening to others’ opinions before reflecting on their assumptions. Moreover, Isaacs (1999) also emphasized the main goal of the respecting principle of dialogue that is not to seek a decision, but to tolerate difference, gap and conflict. Therefore, the more people practice dialogue, the more hey have collective orientation by gradually changing their individualistic behavior, and then, the whole organizational culture is enhanced.
Although dialogue has been proved to have a positive effect on organizational culture, people still face challenges in applying it into organization learning system. First, most organizations are generally a hierarchy and authorized structure which is contrary to the principles of dialogue (Boom, 1996), so employees tend to afraid of expressing their ideas or opinions to the people who are at higher level. In fact, in some top-down companies, managers have the right to create and change organizational culture as well as enforce rules and delegate duties to employees.
Although it has its value, this structure might find it difficult to get dialogue going. Moreover, there are situations where people have different ideas and assumptions, and dialogue might become frustrated. If someone is not willing to listen to other’s assumptions, it is considered as an act of violence (Boom, 1996) which may lead to an argument and no results could be concluded. And last but not least, in case of a cross-culture organization, dialogue becomes a more complicated and lengthy Scheme 1993) process due to the different cultural backgrounds of the employees.
Then, it is necessary for companies to allocate more time and resources in designing dialogue process that may help employees communicate effectively, and the organizational culture is transformed on the right track. Despite all these challenges, dialogue still plays a significant role in transforming organizational culture if companies have methods and strategies to apply it appropriately. Sense (2006) gives a simple analysis about balancing dialogue and discussion within members of an organization. As ‘in a discussion, decisions are made.
In a dialogue, complex issues are explored’ (Sense 2006, p. 230), learning team must learn how to control movement back and forth between dialogue and discussion and distinguish between the ground rules and the goals to have both dialogue and constructive discussion. Communication audit is another approach to deal with the organizational practice of dialogue. For Harrier and Tourist (2004), communication audit is the key to creating a world-class communication system since the results of communicating performance among all staffs is accurately reported to the managers.
This process is effective to solve problems both in top-down organization and cross-culture since it reveals communication strengths and weaknesses among employees at all levels as well as suggests solutions for improvement. In conclusion, dialogue has proved itself as an effective but challenging way of transforming organizational culture. Through behavioral, experiential and attitudinal transformation, corporation culture is positively changed as dialogue awareness of the collective assumptions, minimize arguments and by practicing dialogue, people learn how to accept the differences of others.
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