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The Integral Place of Dialogue in Social Entrepreneurial Ventures

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Trivedi C, Misra S. The Integral Place of Dialogue in Social Entrepreneurial Ventures. Oral presentation at 2017 SciTS Conference. Clearwater Beach, FL. Jun 14, 2017. Dialogue Approaches To Build Bridges Across Disciplines And Perspectives. Online at:

This article focuses on the integral significance of dialogue in the creation of cross-institutional knowledge networks in the context of Social Entrepreneurial Ventures (SEVs). SEVs are collaborative and participatory organizational forms whose goals are to address social problems and facilitate sustained positive social change (Trivedi & Stokols, 2011). This research scrutinizes the process of intersectoral and inter-organizational knowledge network creation, collaborative capacity building, and local empowerment in SEVs. Qualitative data from seven urban SEVs in India and the US were analyzed to reveal the centrality of communication in the collaborative space of social enterprises and understand the critical role it plays promoting social change. Dialogue, conceptualized as a continuous inquiry into the assumptions and certainties that constitute everyday life (Isaacs, 1993), is key to developing a shared understanding of the social problem to be addressed; and coordinating and integrating the efforts of many different actors across diverse knowledge domains. We find that since knowledge of complex (social) systems is often gained iteratively and progressively, it is critical to transfer and translate member experiences and informal understandings through written rules, oral transmission, and systems of formal and informal apprenticeships. Effective SEVs invest in creating learning organizations through the creation of organizational routines and structures that provide opportunities for dialogue among and between diverse actors. Sustained dialogue encourages the sharing of experiences and when used with effective metaphorical language, enables members to suspend their assumptions, articulate their perspectives and express feelings, thereby revealing tacit knowledge that is otherwise difficult to communicate. Organizational knowledge creation through this dialogic process amplifies individual-level knowledge and crystallizes it as a part of the knowledge network of an organization, allowing the discovery of insights not attainable individually. However, the effectiveness of dialogue as organizational knowledge creation tool is limited by the nature and boundaries of the organizational context. Organizational structures that promote social interaction; encourage decisional autonomy and personal responsibility; focus on group performance; combined with strong leadership are necessary conditions for fostering dialogue. This research advances the SciTS field by offering new insights on collaborative, participatory, and communicative processes in a comparatively less researched organizational form, social enterprises.



Type of Publication:

Oral presentation


scits 2017 conference, presentation, integral, social, entrepreneural, dialogue

Addresses these goal(s):

  • Learn about the field of team science: history, theory and concepts
  • Enhance team performance, interactions, and attitudes
  • Conduct research on/evaluate team science

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Resource created by Jane Hwang on 10/5/2017 3:48:27 PM.

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