The Critical Role of Dialogue in Emancipatory Systems Design

  • Larry A. Magliocca
  • Karen E. Sanders

This Chapter examines the concept of Dialogue within the context of our emergent understanding of its meaning and use within organizations and groups. Dialogue plays a critical role in the emancipatory systems design of the CogniScope System. From its Greek origins, dialogue has meant a “flow of meaning”, and in applied use further differentiated with this chapter as “deliberative dialogue”, “generative dialogue”, and “focused and open dialogue”. Current researchers share a framework of inquiry that invites the investigation of assumptions, safety of expression, and active listening. They describe dialogue as free- flowing natural language that is self-organizing and inclusive. However, when dialogue has been used in emancipatory systems design activities, limitations and challenges have been discovered in its application. Unshakeable human burdens must be lifted during dialogue in the form of limits of human cognition, group pathologies, and unequal power relations. Successful strategies for overcoming these burdens are provided based on documented use with the CogniScope System approach which, as been extensively tested in more than 200 applications. The authors conclude that, in the process of emancipatory systems design, dialogue must play a substantively deeper role than other concepts of dialogue to lift the human burdens of engagement.


Power Relation Open Dialogue Interpretive Structural Modeling Nominal Group Technique Group Pathology 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Larry A. Magliocca
  • Karen E. Sanders

There are no affiliations available

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