Catalytic Dialogue is grounded in the research of David Bohm and Chris Argyris. A theoretical physicist, David Bohm viewed the world as a fluid whole. However, he believed that most people perceive and experience the world as made up of disconnected parts.
This perspective leads to treating the divisions among people as permanent rather than temporary, and to feeling that one’s actions don’t necessarily impact the surrounding world. Bohm felt that Dialogue, through creating shared meaning, precipitates a shift from fragmented to whole system thinking.
Chris Argyris, a renowned educator and theorist in organizational learning, addresses the ladder of inference that people quickly and unconsciously climb as they build assumption upon assumption about the thinking and actions of others. He has developed a set of skills to help people counter this process through inquiring into the views of others and making their own reasoning explicit.
Based on the premise that any group has the potential for a collective intelligence greater than the sum of the parts, Catalytic Dialogue accesses this intelligence through enabling participants to engage in a mode of inquiry within an environment of respect.