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Partner Event: Dialogic Organization Development and Generative Meaning-Making in Action: An Experiential Workshop with Dr. Robert J. Marshak

  • 08 Jun 2019
  • 09 Jun 2019
  • American University’s Spring Valley Building, located at 4801 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington DC, 20016

Partner Event - Dialogic Organization Development and Generative Meaning-Making in Action: An Experiential Workshop with Dr. Robert J. Marshak

Learn more and register here!

Dialogic Organization Development is a recently conceptualized alternative to the classical action research approach to planned change. Organizations are seen as fluid, socially constructed realities that are continuously created through conversations and images. Leaders and consultants can help foster change by encouraging disruptions to taken-for-grant ways of thinking and acting and the use of generative images to stimulate new organizational conversations and narratives.  

In this two-day theory and practice workshop one of the creators of Dialogic OD, Bob Marshak, will explain its basic premises and how generative change differs from classical ideas about planned change. Bob’s pioneering ideas and methods for how to apply dialogic premises in the moment with clients through generative conversations will also be explained and practiced.

This is a unique opportunity to work with and learn from one of the originators of Dialogic OD and a master practitioner of generative conversations. Both coaches and consultants will find this workshop appealing and helpful to their practices.

Workshop Topics:

 The Dialogic OD Mindset. Dialogic OD is not a specific intervention or set of practices. Rather it is a set of premises that lead to a mindset that guides organizational consulting and change. The basic premises will be introduced and explained.

 Dialogic Change Requirements. The three critical ingredients needed for dialogic change will be reviewed along with reflecting on what’s needed for them to occur.

 Generative Change and Planned Change. Comparing classical planned change withgenerative change. What’s the difference and why does it matter?

 The Principles and Premises of Generative Conversations. If ongoing conversations create and recreate the narratives that shape how things are seen and experienced then generative change requires changing the conversations in transformational ways.

 In the Moment Dialogic Meaning Making with Clients. How coaches and consultants can dialogically intervene in the moment with how clients are creating their reality.

 Practice with Metaphor and Storyline Reframing Interventions. Multiple opportunities to apply and practice workshop ideas about dialogic meaning making with special attention to metaphors and storylines.

Workshop Leader:

Robert J. Marshak, Ph.D. is Distinguished Scholar in Residence Emeritus in the School of Public Affairs at American University in Washington, DC, and was one of the founding faculty for the MSOD program in 1980. Bob is widely recognized for his pioneering work on the use of metaphors and symbolic meaning in organizational change and the conceptualization, along with Gervase Bushe, of Dialogic OD. He is the author or co-editor of three books including Dialogic Organization Development: The Theory and Practice of Transformational Change (2015) and more than 100 book chapters and articles addressing organizational consulting and change. Among his many honors and awards, he received theOrganization Development Network’s Lifetime Achievement Award and the Distinguished Educator Award from the Organization Development and Change Division of the Academy of Management.

Registration and Schedule:

The General Registration fee for the workshop is $500. *For AU MSOD and AU/NTL Community Members – including students, alumni, faculty, and instructional support team members – the discounted rate is $300. Alumni and students must enter their cohort number into the registration form. Lunch, coffee, morning refreshments, and programmatic materials are included in the registration fee. Copies of the Dialogic OD book will be available for purchase at the workshop at a reduced price.

The workshop will run from 9 AM-5 PM on Saturday, June 8 and 9 AM-4 PM on Sunday, June 9, 2019. Lunch will be 12 PM-1 PM each day. Due to the nature of the subject matter participants will be expected to attend the entire workshop.

Registration is open to all and is discounted for AU MSOD alumni, students, faculty, and instructional support team members. Learn more and register here!

Please feel free to share with your network and do not hesitate to reach out with any questions!

With appreciation,

Ruth Wagner


Director, Master of Science in Organization Development Program 
Department of Public Administration and Policy

School of Public Affairs 
American University

Phone  (202) 885-2952  


Now recruiting for Cohort 79, beginning in Spring 2019.  For more information, visit american.edu/msod. 

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Chesapeake Bay Organization Development Network (CBODN) is the premier DC Metro area network for organization development (OD) practitioners. Founded in Chesapeake Bay, Maryland, our name pays homage to those elders who made vital contributions to the field of OD.


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