The Role of Dialogue in an Organizational Context
The Role of Dialogue in an Organizational Context
Dialogue is a practice of engaging people to listen to different perspectives, work on difficult skills, promote cooperation, and build skills. Each organization has its own unique culture of addressing problems, relationship tension points, and implementing changes. With effective dialogues in an organization, the process of solving problems and implementing changes becomes easy, and successful. Most organization acknowledges the value of dialogues, but when they seek to enhance overall performance, they seldom view dialogues as a starting point of change. Ensuring effective dialogues are in place can be an effective first step toward improving overall organization performance (Stoll-Kleemann & Welp 2006). This paper intends to discuss the role of dialogue in an organizational context.
In an organization, dialogues provide a forum of identifying improvement opportunities. This spurs quick action, paving way for immediate results, which build a momentum for the ongoing change. Dialogues enable managers to create a vision of change, increase employees awareness on their roles during the change process, and most important, they create a process of handling conflicts when they occur in the change process. Effective dialogues also boost employee trust, which is of paramount importance during the process of implementing various changes in the organization. Additionally, dialogues create a sense of transparency throughout the organization, and as a result, trust is enhanced among the employees. Keeping employees in the dark can lead to a feeling of low job security, resentments, or tension (Fielding 2005). Effective dialogues help to eradicate this feeling of uncertainty/cluelessness about the course of action in the organization, creating a more positive work environment.
Dialogue is an essential ingredient in the creation of health relationships between staff members and various levels of employees, both on social and professional level. Through dialogues, employees express their ideas freely, and they get solutions for some of the problems they encounter as they execute their roles. They also get to know more about their responsibilities, and their employer’s expectations. In addition, dialogue prevents employees from feeling isolated, creates a more collegial work environment, and builds teamwork. As the staff members interact with one another in a one-to-one discussions, they share their experiences, and consequently come up with more innovative solutions, which boost the organization’s productivity (Molen & Hoogland 2005).
Confusion and ambiguity in an organization can create feelings of low self-esteem and a tense atmosphere. However, through adoption of effective dialogues, where managers engage with the employees in a face-to-face communication, they can give employees the necessary information needed to get their jobs done. This is particularly necessary in cases where employees come from varying backgrounds. By engaging in such dialogues, managers also address some of the problems employees may be encountering as well as listen to their grievances (Fielding, 2005).
In order to achieve the organizational goals, every stakeholder including customers, the community, owners, shareholder as well as prospective/present employees should be updated accordingly on the state of affairs in the organization. Although sufficient information might be available on the organization’s website or publications, some stakeholders may not be able to interpret it correctly. For instance, a shareholder may not be able to know the meaning of various financial ratios included in financial statements. However, by engaging in effective dialogues with such stakeholders, it will be possible to clarify, some of the areas they are finding difficult to understand, and as a result remove any misunderstanding. This paves way for a smooth running of the organization, making it easy to realize the set goals. If managers neglect such dialogues, the stakeholders may concoct information through grape vine rumors. This can be detrimental to the company, and can lead to mistrust (McIntosh, Luecke & American Management Association 2008).
In most organizations, effective dialogues offer the best opportunity of creating an outstanding first impression. By using relevant and powerful words in various dialogues, business professionals are able to create strong partnerships while developing a solid client base at the same time. In addition, through effective dialogues, employees learn how to work together, and consequently, they share their expertise without reservation. This makes some of the daunting tasks manageable, enabling employees to perfect in their roles. Employees also feel free to share resources in running of various operations in the organization since they have a feeling that they are a family. As a result, the organization can cut on the cost of acquiring some resources. In the long-run, the organization resources will be put in a maximum use, ensuring good returns at low costs (McIntosh, Luecke, Davis & American Management Association, 2008).
Performance dialogues, which entail face-to-face communication between the manager and various employees, are among the best management tools available at a leader’s disposal. Through these dialogues, managers can review data on the organization’s progress, its health, and identify the root cause of various obstacles in realization of the organization’s objectives and goals. After identifying the obstacles faced by the organization, manager can come up with viable strategies of countering the challenges through blending of the ideas and proposals from different parties involved in the dialogues (Molen & Hoogland, 2005).
As discussed above, dialogues play a key role in the execution of various operations in an organization. For instance, dialogues create a sense of transparency throughout the organization, enhancing trust among employees. With noteworthy trust, employees feel as part of the organization, and as a result, they offer their services without reservation. By engaging in effective dialogues with employees, managers can address some of the challenges faced by employees, clarify their roles, motivate them, and listen to their grievances. In addition, dialogues play a key role during the process of implementing new changes in the organization. They enable managers to clarify the importance of the changes, and the roles each employee is expected to play. Indeed, for any organization to succeed, dialogues are inevitable.
Fielding, M. (2005). Effective communication in organizations: [preparing messages that communicate]. Lansdowne, Cape Town: Juta Academic.
McIntosh, P., Luecke, R., Davis, J. H., & American Management Association. (2008). Interpersonal communication skills in the workplace. New York: American Management Association.
Stoll-Kleemann, S., & Welp, M. (2006). Stakeholder dialogues in natural resources management: Theory and practice. Berlin: Springer.