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Practicing Organization Development: Leading Transformation and Change, 4th Edition by Roland L. Sullivan, Jacqueline M. Stavros, William J. Rothwell

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Chapter Thirty-One

The Dialogic Organization Development Approach to Transformation and Change

Gervase R. Bushe and Robert J. Marshak

In the past 30 years, the postmodern orientation in the social sciences, and the discoveries in nonlinear and complexity natural sciences, have been influential in altering ideas about change and change practices. These ideas and change practices have led to a variety of methods (see Table 31.1) that deviate from key tenets of the diagnostic forms of organization development (OD) created during the 1960s and 1970s. We have labeled these ideas and practices Dialogic OD (Bushe and Marshak 2009) and have been studying their common philosophical basis, and how they actually create change in practice (Bushe and Marshak 2014a). Overall, we've concluded that simply having “good dialogues” is not enough to create change, but that Dialogic OD approaches can help leaders and organizations meet adaptive challenges (Heifetz 1998) and create transformational change (Bushe and Marshak 2015a). In this chapter, we identify eight key premises of a Dialogic OD mindset and contrast these with a Diagnostic OD Mindset. We also identify the three core change processes that, whether practitioners are aware of it or not, are the source of change in Dialogic OD efforts. Based on our research we believe that Dialogic OD practices are now widely used, but under a variety of names and without a clear understanding of their shared premises nor their similarities and differences ...

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