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The Manager as Facilitator of Dialogue

NCDD member Joe Raelin, Northeastern University – D’Amore-McKim School of Business, contributed the following paper using NCDD’s Add-A-Resource form…

Given the inquiry among NCDD adherents on methods of conversation to generate collective wisdom, this article prescribes some criteria and a series of norms to assess the quality of discourse as parties seek to deliberate with one another for purposes of mutual exploration, decision making, and shared action. I also wrote the article to presage a new role for managers (be they in the public, civic, or private sectors) as facilitators of dialogue. I state what I mean by facilitation, not as being the moderator of a meeting, but rather the interlocutor of an emancipator discourse in which dialogue is seen as the genetic material for building a culture of democracy freeing people from institutional forces that may limit their personal autonomy and leading to their acquisition of a collective consciousness.

The article is available in an “online before print” version with the Sage journal (for those with access to the Northeastern University Libraries system ) or it can be accessed in its pre-publication form at the author’s SSRN page at the link below.

The abstract follows:

In this article, a new role for managers is advocated to create conditions for genuine collaborative engagement in 21st Century organizations. The new role is as a facilitator of emancipatory dialogue, a discourse among parties that can lead to mutual learning, deep understanding and insight, and collaborative consciousness and action. The facilitator role is described and illustrated in the article as a means to encourage free expression and inquiry, but the article also warns about the imposition of coercive norms within the work group that might be externally imposed or even self-imposed. As managers promote an emancipatory form of dialogic engagement, conversations ensue that bring out people’s individual and collective wisdom, creativity, and dignity.

Resource Link:  http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2151021

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