Proceedings of the International Association for Business and Society

Volume 1, 1990

Proceedings of the First Annual Meeting

Richard P. Nielsen
Pages 253-271

'I Am We' Dialog as Organizational Ethics Method

Herbal medicines used in traditional cultures sometimes are rejected erroneously by modern medical science. Part of the explanation for such rejection is because the herbs are expressed and understood in traditional language and folk culture instead of the modern scientific language of biochemistry For example, it was not until the 20th c that biochemical research was able to transpose, disentangle, rediscover, and reconstruct the heart medicine digitalis from its understanding as the folk herbal medicine foxglove. Analogously, we may be able to do similar research in the humanities, the social sciences, and management. More specifically with respect to this paper, it appears that there is a type of dialogic method, "I Am We " dialog, that can be transposed, disentangled, rediscovered, and reconstructed as organizational ethics method from its historical language ond tradition of 19th contury experience into the modern longuage of organizational ethics action (praxis) method. "I Am We" friendly, disentangling, experimental dialog is different from civil, analytic, positional Socratic type dialog as well as win-lose adversarial and win-win integrative conversations It appears that "I Am We" dialog can be understood in modern contexts and reconstructed for present application. "I Am We" dialog as seen in four cases appears to be a concrete method that has some value both as an end in itself and as instrumental means that can: be issue effective, help build ethical organizational/community culture, and help facilitate peaceful, evolutionary change. Limitations of the method are also considered. The method may be a several hundred year anticipation of experiment based pragmatist philosophy that is anthropologically sensitive to cultural entanglements