Title

Speaking the Unspeakable: The Paper Dialogue Approach

Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

2005

Abstract

Effective communication is a vital characteristic of all learning organisations. Ineffective communication lies at the root of why people are not really working well and learning in teams. These people are poorly connected. Thus, the notion of dialogue is appealing. However, such a free flow of ideas, balancing advocacy and inquiry, is rarely observed in many organisations. The constraint is due to the culture of the people/organisation. When sensitive issues need to be addressed, most of these people display an unwillingness to speak their mind. Many elect to keep silent about their true feelings and prefer to say only the politically correct things. Fear and distrust exist prominently. Thus, dialogue facilitators find it difficult to get people to talk honestly and openly about issues, much less to uncover deeper mental models and constructing real shared vision. This paper examines this crucial problem, and experiments and describes an alternative method, called the paper dialogue, which could be effective in helping real feelings and honest opinions surface more easily, thus improving the collective intelligence of the organisation.

Discipline

Human Resources Management

Research Areas

Organisational Behaviour and Human Resources

Publication

International Journal of Human Resources Development and Management

Volume

5

Issue

2

First Page

190

Last Page

203

ISSN

1465-6612

Identifier

10.1504/ijhrdm.2005.006325