Developmental Magic? Two Takes on a Dialogue Conference

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This paper draws on the metaphor of ‘magic’ to explore the role of dialogue conferences and subsequent activities as a tool for organizational development and change. It is argued that the magic metaphor is a useful means for critically assessing the role of dialogue conferences in developmental processes, as magic is essentially double-edged in nature. On the one hand, magic is an activity wherein the seemingly impossible is made to happen; on the other it is an activity of simple illusion whereby appearance is at odds with reality. In the empirical setting of a change project in a regional health authority in Sweden, the action research ambitions of development, participation and dialogue in the change effort are critically assessed. Against a backdrop of change fatigue and scepticism towards change, the unfolding of developmental processes set in train by an initial dialogue conference are assessed as a dynamic process of magic.


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Sidor (från-till)8-25
TidskriftJournal of Organizational Change Management
Utgåva nummer1
StatusPublished - 2007
Peer review utfördJa