Conversational Paradigm LO5831

Michael McMaster (
Sat, 24 Feb 1996 18:16:29 +0000

Replying to LO5713 --

Don asks, "Is anyone else thinking this way?" Yes, some on this list
and many others. One of our problems is to have a name or general
label by which to identify. There's too much of "I don't like
Flores - or postmodernism, Foucault, etc, etc" and not enough
recognition that we are all exploring and developing a field that has
its significant differences but also its fundamental similarities.

The best offering I've seen - from Don Lavoie at George Mason
University's Program on Social and Organisational Learning - is
"interpretive approaches". He is attempting to integrate Polyani,
hermeneutics and a general approach based in dialogue. My partner
in the Santa Fe Center for Management strategy, Howard Sherman and I
are devoted to developing these ideas as is the Organisational
Intelligence Group at George Mason. A productive question is, as you
> --- "How is meaning socially constructed in organizations)?"

>While in some sense all language is past (not present) because by the time
I have spoken the word to hear myself say it

I would expand on this statement - and return conversation to being
both present and future oriented - by saying that while the words and
utterance may be linear and therefor instantly past, the meaning is
emerging and continues to emerge in listening, responsive speaking
and silence that follows. A dialogue is an ongoing process that is
creating a future which *begins* with the speaking and continues in
the silence. (Actually, I would say that it emerges from the silence
that preceeded the speaking and no real beginning can be found.)

> However, ' words' and 'utterances' in conversation is the observable
reality which by focusing more intentionally on we might be better able
to understand the social construction of learning organizations in reality

This thinking can be unpacked in action for some time. Thanks for
your expression and for the reference work you included.

Michael McMaster

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <> -or- <>