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Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(3), 101;

What Works in Democratic Dialogue?

Faculty of Social Sciences, Tampere University, Kalevantie 4, 33014 Tampere, Finland
Independent researcher, 33580 Tampere, Finland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 14 January 2019 / Revised: 12 March 2019 / Accepted: 14 March 2019 / Published: 20 March 2019
PDF [481 KB, uploaded 20 March 2019]


As the global world produces new social problems and the continuously changing environment of work organizations calls for new modes of operation, there emerges a need for discussion forums to analyze and find practical solutions, involving the people concerned. This article examines, within the framework of realist evaluation, the potential of democratic dialogue, a Nordic method of workplace development, to generate outcomes that are put into practice in work organizations. Democratic dialogue is seen as a social program that, by providing the participants with new resources and new reasoning in work conferences and other dialogue forums, enables them to make new choices. The focus is on three Finnish action research networks applying democratic dialogue, and the recompilation of these cases along the Context-Mechanism-Outcomes formula of realist evaluation. Changes in the organizational patterns of communication, linked to the criteria of democratic dialogue and the design of work conferences, are identified and examined through the lenses of varied organizational concepts that elaborate the underlying processes generating change. The article suggests further research to compare cases with the same starting points but differing outcomes to trace the finer distinctions in the preconditions for accomplishing the desired objectives. View Full-Text
Keywords: democratic dialogue; work conferences; workplace development; realist evaluation; Finnish action research cases democratic dialogue; work conferences; workplace development; realist evaluation; Finnish action research cases

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Kalliola, S.; Heiskanen, T.; Kivimäki, R. What Works in Democratic Dialogue? Soc. Sci. 2019, 8, 101.

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