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What is Open Conversations

Handbook of Research on Cultural and Economic Impacts of the Information Society
Entail interactive situations in which any person can freely ask open-ended questions without fear, where individuals are energized and inspired; where individuals listen attentively and learn from one another.
Published in Chapter:
The Current State of Dialogue in South African Universities: Change through Open Conversations and the Facilitating Role of ICTs
Kevin Allan Johnston (University of Cape Town, South Africa), Bane Nogemane (Standard Bank, South Africa), and Salah Kabanda (University of Cape Town, South Africa)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8598-7.ch015
The current state of dialogue within certain South African universities was explored, and if and how dialogue can be used to address the issues of transformation and the lack of social cohesiveness. The role of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in facilitating or inhibiting open conversations was examined. Through qualitative analysis of surveys administered to staff and students at universities, the researchers identified that power disparity, and the slow pace of transformation were prevalent and needed to be addressed. University management generally practice open conversations, and students and staff were willing to participate. Organisational structures were not conducive for open conversations. The ICT infrastructure used had no significant role to play, while Social Network Systems (SNSs) were perceived as enablers of open conversations. This chapter contributes to the existing body of knowledge about change management, and presents open conversations as a means of driving and realising organisational change.
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