An exploration of generative conversations during faculty meetings in a university setting

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Generative dialogue
Generative outcomes
Organization development
Appreciative inquiry

The environment in which universities operate continues to shift and change consequent to economic realities, changing demographics, and changes in technology. Planning in higher education must be creative and responsive to address multifaceted demands. To sustain post-secondary education, institutional leaders need to develop skill sets that promote effective dialogue, group work, and generativity within internal organizations. Concepts of leadership for the 21st century shift focus away from the previous approaches of making incremental improvements to already existing processes toward discovering possibilities, exploring potential innovations, and generating actions (Burgess & Newton, 2015; Webber, 2016). Building on existing frameworks for understanding generativity in group work and planning, this study sought to understand generative processes and conversations that compel people to act upon thoughts and feelings arising from social interactions. A descriptive study design was utilized to explore and summarize the experiences of faculty involved in three different group planning processes: brainstorming (Osborn 1953, 1957, 1963), a force field analysis (Lewin, 1947), and a variation of an appreciative inquiry process (Cooperrider & Srivastva, 1987). The development of a generative conversations survey tool focused on how the faculty participants perceived the qualities of their experiences. A key outcome of the research was the creation of a set of recommendations for thinking about the design of group sessions and meetings that can transmethodologically enhance chances for generative results.

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Milton McClaren
Tom Roemer
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ed.D.