Third Cybernetic Revolution: Beyond Open to Dialogic System Theories

David Boje, Khadija Al Arkoubi


We question Systems Theory by adopting a Bakhtinian dialogism approach. We argue that a dialogism approach gets us beyond first order cybernetic (control) and second order (open) system thinking to a third order cybernetics (multi- dialogisms). We believe third order cybernetic theory is an extension of Bakhtin's work. We explore how dialogue is not equivalent to polyphonic dialogism; the later does not assume being in same time and space, as in some meeting. Further, we look at three other dialogisms (stylistic, chronotopic, & architectonic). Multi- dialogisms raise questions for dialog, learning, and appreciative inquiry approaches. We conclude with insights on how dialogism is already a part of organization practice, and ways to enhance dialogic competence. 

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