Aspects of Effective Dialogic Interventions

Aspects of Effective Dialogic Interventions

by Dr D. Beth Macey – [ Journal of Dialogue Studies Vol 7 ]



Based upon on a broad reading of quantum physicist David Bohm’s work and upon my organisational experience, I propose that effective interventions into problem situations require three aspects: dialogue, whole-system involvement, and identification of systemic issues. Without partnership of these three aspects, the real problem often hides in the crevices, leading interveners to focus on the wrong problem and to further solidify the original conflict. Concepts that underlie Bohm’s science and philosophy serve as metaphors for his process of dialogue as well as for this paper. In Bohm’s view the relationship of wholes and parts underlies scientific as well as all other processes. A problem arises from fragmentation, a breakage within the essential relationship of the parts that manifests in our societal, organisational and personal conflicts. His process of dialogue proposes to mend and reweave those fragments back into their participation in the whole. In dialogue, by placing a societal or organisational issue within its context and by viewing fragmentation from various perspectives, we begin the process of mending and rebuilding a broken issue back into wholeness. The image of the spiral suggested by Bohm describes the pattern underlying his dialogue, as well as the intervention model I propose. Brief narratives from organisational and societal-cultural interventions based upon these three aspects demonstrate their application in diverse situations and types of conflict.

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