DIALOGUE: CREATING SHARED MEANING AND OTHER BENEFITS FOR BUSINESS
Keywords:David Bohm, Dialogue, Business Environment, Organizational Learning Environment, Presence, Shared Meaning, Systems Thinking, Transformation
This qualitative, phenomenological study explores the process of dialogue built upon the method described by the physicist David Bohm. The study specifically explores the use of the process in business environments as a means to understanding its effects on the business. It describes the dialogue process and explores how it shifts both individuals and a group to a collective, shared understanding. This study describes the experiences of individuals who have facilitated and participated in dialogue processes in a business environment, and their personal accounts of those experiences. The author interviewed six professionals: three external consultants and three internal employees, for the study. It seeks to explore those experiences and show the benefits of shared meaning to business organizations. The findings of this study explain the challenges of introducing the process into a fast paced, task-oriented culture and the courage required by managers and subordinates to suspend roles and status. They explain how, when groups explore their own thinking and behavior together, as experienced in a dialogue circle, group awareness moves toward a shared understanding of problems and issues relevant to the group. They show how the participants of a dialogue process foster an awareness of systems thinking. Participants begin to operate from a position that acknowledges how their decisions affect other parts of the organization. The findings demonstrate the way the process allows the group to access what emerges as new possibilities for future action. The study identifies this state as presence, the necessary capacity for harnessing a group’s emerging future.