Communication and Dialogue

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Abstract:
In this new era of globalisation wherein people from diverse culture and ethnicity have come together to work in an organisation, dialogue is indeed an important way of communication. Many researches have proved the fact that differences in culture may inculcate a difference in the thinking pattern or stem into differential analysis of a situation. In an organisation where values and growth are related to each other, differences in opinion may lead to altercation and conflicts if not addressed well. Dialogue, a bidirectional flow of communication where emphasis is laid not only on saying but also on listening and understanding at the same time can be an useful tool in an organisation to resolve inter personal conflicts, conflicts within the department or conflicts between two different departments of the same organisation. The essay will highlight the importance of introduction of dialogue in a multicultural organisation and its use as a problem solving tool in multicultural organisation where cultural thinking act as an impediment among them. Also, it will review the role of dialogue in promoting organisational learning. Next it will explore some of the barriers in communication such as “Silo virus” and need for eliminations of those barriers, ending into a conclusion for the implication of dialogue in a multicultural organisation. Sequential Conversation or Unidirectional Flow of Communication versus Dialogic conversation A conversation is said to be sequential or unidirectional when there is a flow of information from the speaker to the listener (Eisenberg & Goodall, p.27). This one way communication can be practically seen in classes where student completely rely on teachers lectures, also when managers or the instructor define the protocol of the work to the subordinates or receivers. In other words in a unidirectional or sequential communication listeners are passive and are uninvolved in constructing the ideas of the communication (Eisenberg & Goodall, p.28) . Traditionally communication between managers and employee were articulated as straightforward unidirectional flow of delivering management messages to employees and other constituencies (Tourish and Hargie 2009, p.5). However, dialogue provides equal opportunities to all who are involved in the communication. Everyone has the say to voice their opinion and give their feedback either in agreement or in opposition of the core matter. Dialogue in a working definition can be defined as a mindful conversation emphasising on equitable and empathetic transaction of opinions of the participants to create new opportunities for working together to produce new and innovative ideas (Eisenberg & Goodall, p.40-45) Hence dialogue is a balance between creativity and constraints (Eisenberg & Goodall ,p.40). Dialogue demands its participants should be able to critically reflect themselves i.e, they should be open to the fact that the perceptions made by them may not always be accurate. “What we perceive is often based on our needs, our expectations, our projections, and, most of all, our culturally learned assumptions and categories of thought (Schein 1993,p.33)”. Participants should be able to suspend the perceptions and feelings for some time to see the outcome of the dialogue (Schein 1993). By suspending the feelings the participants will allow the disagreements to fly off, hence will build mutual understanding and trust on each other. Higher the trust higher will be the effectiveness of the group. Participants will be open to voice their unfearful opinions, and will come up with more innovative and successful solutions. Dialogue as a problem solving tool in a multicultural organisation The definition of dialogue says that there should be equal sharing of perceptions, assumptions, thoughts and experiences to come to an radical conclusion (Schein 1993). Healthy communication connects the employee more strongly with the organisation by eliminating...
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