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Dialogue in Organizations: Developing Relational Leadership by Megan Reitz (auth.)

By Megan Reitz (auth.)

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Dynamically and dialectically rather than as a static construct’ (23). For example, Bakhtin (1981) saw language as a battle between centripetal and centrifugal forces (see Baxter 2004). Buber famously described in his work the tension between his central ideas of I–It and I–Thou (which are explained later in the chapter). 4 illustrates some key tensions which I perceive in the dialogue literature, and I position Buber’s perspectives amongst them. 4 shows again how eclectic and wide the literature on dialogue is.

Perhaps Cunliffe and Eriksen struggled with the tensions between recognising the ‘messiness’ and emergent nature of conversation on the one hand and the pressure to provide clarity through how-to advice on the other. Another tension might have been between depicting individuals as ‘normal’ on the one hand, yet describing what made them ‘leaders’ on the other. I am left wondering, if relational leadership is most concerned with the dynamic process of leadership, what might it be like, in a holistic sense, to be in relation within a context which is not limited to specific leadership roles?

Hammond et al. (2003) connect Buber’s work with being authentic as a leader. Finally Slotte (2006) uses Buber’s work to set out a methodology for dialogue interventions, claiming that certain conditions must be present for dialogue to emerge. In these ways authors have chosen aspects of Buber’s work to support their claims. Some delve more deeply into the ontological basis of Buber’s thinking, whereas others are satisfied in reading Buber’s work at a more superficial level, focusing on general practical features of ‘good open communication’.

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