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Dialogic Perspectives

J. Kevin Barge

Subject Communication Studies » Organizational Communication

Key-Topics discourse

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405131995.2008.x


Multiple intellectual traditions exist within a dialogic perspective toward organizational communication. These intellectual traditions share a common set of theoretical inclinations that distinguish a dialogic perspective by focusing on discourse, holism, and tensionality ( Stewart et al. 2004 ). First, dialogic approaches emphasize the centrality of discourse . A dialogic perspective focuses on both “little d” and “big D” discourse, with the former centering on language-in-use and the latter spotlighting enduring systems of thought, feeling, and action that structure the way organizational members make sense of and act in their social worlds ( Fairhurst & Putnam 2004 ). Second, dialogic approaches are holistic as they emphasize the interplay among communication, context, action, and meaning. Third, dialogic approaches view human systems as riddled with tensionality , which requires theorists and researchers to articulate the tensions constituting a system and how individuals attempt to manage them (→  Organizational Discourse ). Dialogic perspectives are also marked by difference, as some intellectual traditions use dialogue as a descriptive term and others employ it as a prescriptive term ( Stewart & Zediker 2000 ). A descriptive approach to dialogue views all human life, communication, and meaning-making as dialogic whereas a prescriptive approach views dialogue ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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