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Bridging differences through dialogue: a constructivist perspective

Simpson, Barbara and Large, Bob and O'Brien, Matthew (2004) Bridging differences through dialogue: a constructivist perspective. Journal of Constructivist Psychology, 17 (1). pp. 45-59. ISSN 1072-0537

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Abstract

Differences in culture invariably underpin the communication failures and misunderstandings that lead to social conflict and dissension. In contemporary organizations, for example, conflicts in values between different occupational groups have the potential to create significant organizational dysfunction. Equally, however, bridging between these conflicts may present an opportunity for organizational learning and insight. Dialogue provides a means of bridging between such differences, but it is notoriously difficult to implement. In this article, we explore the potential of Personal Construct Theory as a way into dialogue. We illustrate our argument with the results of a workshop that involved senior managers and clinicians from a large public hospital.