BMI Certificate in Dialogic OD

Discourse, narrative and the skills of dialogic inquiry

The aim of this course is to ground participants in the key aspects of social construction theory and the pervasive role of discourse, narrative, conversation and metaphor in the creation of shared ‘realities’, the meaning of which upholds and constrains (and is upheld and constrained by) patterns of thinking, talking, writing and action.

You will build on your learning about ‘generativity’ gained in the first course, and start to explore the origins and practical applications of ‘generative metaphor’ and ‘generative image’ in Dialogic OD.  This provides the theoretical understanding on which you may later develop your Dialogic Process Consulting skills (for example) in the appropriate live course, and make pragmatic connection to your practice of organisation change.

We touch on the five main types of intentional, collaborative inquiry, their purpose and informing ideas and questions, with a deeper focus on affirmative and generative inquiry and reframing – central to practices such as Appreciative Inquiry and large group methods like Open Space.

You will start an ongoing inquiry into your own biases and blindspots, with an interest in what you privilege and amplify, or ignore and reject.

In addition you will be able to refresh your core inquiry skills (such as deep listening, the art of the question etc) in anticipation of further developing your dialogic craft in the live courses.

Intended learning outcomes - you will be able to:

Explain the main pillars of Social Construction and the implications of seeing ourselves as ‘relational’ (rather than autonomous or unitary) beings – ie that our meaningful ‘reality’ is constructed by, and dependent upon the agreements and commitments to certain theories or privileged narratives that we share with those around us.

Name the five concepts critical to understanding a discursive orientation and its relationship with Dialogic OD.  Start to question how power and political process determines (and is determined by) prevailing discourses and shapes accepted ways of thinking and acting.  Learn more about the implications for change, when we take the position that conversing IS organising.

Explain how different representational and linguistic metaphors for organising, leading and change legitimise certain practices or approaches, while hiding, rejecting or disallowing others.  We examine how metaphor and narrative guides and reveals these underpinning ideologies and scripts, and how they have the power to uphold, constrain and transform patterns of intention, choice-making and action/interaction in social groups and organisations.  We open up curiosity about how to integrate this into your OD consulting.

Continue the process of your own inquiry and reflection – paying conscious attention to self (thoughts, feelings, etc), attention to others, listening and of being present, and staying present in a situation.  You will be encouraged to do this with the intention to discern and explore your own constellation of beliefs, premises, frameworks and theories-in-use that shape and mediate your own interpretations, in the communities of discourse that you are part of.

You commit to experiment with disrupting your own established and repetitive ways of talking about things, and noticing whether (and how) this leads to new ways of thinking and acting.  This work will then continue as you enter the live classes and courses and explore your practice in supervision (for example).

Demonstrate enhanced skills of listening, noticing, questioning, learning, framing and reframing inquiry in preparation for the deepening of these skills through participation in the live courses of your choice.


You have access to some refresher materials relating to listening, questioning and the range of different coaching, dialogue and intervention styles you might use when working with groups.

This is the second of the three compulsory on-line learning courses, which make up the theoretical base on which you can build your dialogic OD practice.

In order to attain the Bushe Marshak Institute certification of completion of a program of study in Dialogic Organization Development, applicants must successfully complete the other two compulsory courses here on the Academy, and any five of the Cape Cod affiliated courses.

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£100.00 inc VAT

Programme resources

  • DOD – Discourse, narrative and skills of dialogic inquiry – what to expect (draft)
    5 minutes
  • Understanding social construction and implications for organisation development (draft)
    60 minutes
  • Conversing IS organising – taking a discursive approach to change (draft)
    0 minutes
  • Metaphors we live, lead and organise by
    0 minutes
  • Generative metaphor and the anticipatory principle (draft)
    20 minutes
  • Choosing what you pay attention to – coming at things from the other side
    15 minutes
  • Definition – the gentle art of reframing (draft)
    60 minutes
  • Choosing intentional inquiry – opening up the space for discovery
    90 minutes
  • DOD – Review your inquiry approaches
    10 minutes
  • Dialogue and generativity (draft)
    0 minutes
  • The gift of skilful listening
    90 minutes
  • The art of the question
    20 minutes
  • Mastering a broad range of interventions
    60 minutes

This BMI accreditation course offers

Leading edge content

We aim to go beyond the content that can be found in the BMI Dialogic OD sources – drawing on a wide range of Masters and Doctorate level sources on which the emergence of the field (becoming known as Dialogic OD) rests.  Each lesson draws on, and integrates hundreds of hours of deep research, often combining and making sense of dozens of books, numerous articles, websites and other publications, videos, podcasts and collaborative conversations – curated and combined through the lens of our own Dialogic OD practice of the last 20 years.

Different types of media to suit all needs

Each lesson will mix videos to watch, with material to read – all aimed to blend academic rigor, with reflective challenge and pragmatic application.

Products and downloadables to use in your work

Plus there are downloadable handouts, worksheets, templates and checklists to print and take away, and keep for future reference.

Frequently asked questions

How long can I access a programme or course?

Your programme, course or module will be accessible to you for 1 year from the time you start it.

However in each lesson there are also PDFs, tools, products and exercises, that we think you will want to keep – you can download them, or print them.

What if I fall behind and out of step with the programme timing?

All significant learning commitments require some dedication.  This means making conscious choices, and carving out the time to acquire, experiment with, and reflect on what you are exploring.  Sometimes, this is going to clash with other priorities and occasionally it might feel a little overwhelming – even for the most dedicated learner.  If you know that a busy period is coming up, plan for catch-up time in the weeks that follow.

Some of our longer programmes involve following a specific timetable with a group – with new modules ‘starting’ at a given time.  This may tie in with Peer Support Group meetings, and/or with workshops or webinars.  If this is the case for your programme, an important aspect is that you are not alone – but in a community of learners.  The timings of ‘live’ experiences or group meetings are rarely changed once the programme starts, as this would impact negatively on your colleagues and co-learners.  Keeping up with others, so that you share your learning and benefit from their experience, is important.

Get into the learning habit, and if you have concerns about whether you will be able to do this, and if you fall behind at any time, just reach out to us and we will try to help.

Can I bundle one course or programme with another and save money?

Some of our courses are already bundled, in particular the shorter courses shown in our ‘bitesize’ section.  If the course you are interested in IS available in a value-for-money bundle, proceed with your purchase, and before closing the ‘sale’, you will be notified of this choices at your ‘Cart’.

If the other courses you are interested in are not bundled right now, just contact us, as we can put a custom bundle together for you.

Can I commission custom courses for my organisation?

Many of our programmes and short (bite-size) courses have been originally developed especially for a client – and, where appropriate, then adapted for a broader audience and turned into an ‘open’ programme.  It is our clients around the world that ‘pull’ new content and commission what we go on to build, to meet their needs at any given time.

If you would like to either curate a custom programme from our existing stock, or you have an area of new content that you would like us to look at, just contact us and we can help.

What if I'm not satisfied with my purchase?

Our courses and materials are getting great feedback from users – but of course it might not suit exactly what you are looking for.

We are always happy to refund you if you start a course and find it isn’t what you wanted.  Please contact us straight after completing the first lesson in the course if you would like us to refund your payment or switch you to a more suitable product. 

Please note that we are unable to refund a course that has been more than 50% completed.