Developing a democratic organisation

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  • The participants’ own organisation


  • identify democratic shortcomings inside the organization
  • outline a plan of action for dealing with them

A Dialogue conference consists of three rounds of discussion between 5-6 people at each of an appropriate number of tables. Each table has a host who distributes print-outs of this application to the participants. After each round, everyone except the hosts moves to a new table.

  • The table host spends all three rounds at the same table
  • ensures that a discussion gets going and helps participants with the instructions
  • appoints a time-keeper, who announces when 5 minutes are left and when the time is up
  • summarises results of the previous round at the beginning of rounds 2 and 3


First round (base groups):

Democracy barometer

  • The participants complete the Demometer, organization and sum the points. 
  • Combine each table’s individual results on the Results form. What can be changed? Which phase of the process do you want to work on?
  • The participants go through the Democratic check-list together.
    1. Are there formal institutions in the organisation that rule out one or more of the criteria for democracy?
    2. Consider in particular the third question: does the organization have clear criteria for membership?
      • Does the question make sense for your organization?
      • If so, what are the criteria and are they sufficiently clear?
Second round (cross-section groups):

Inventory of resources and obstacles

  • The table host summaries the results of the Democracy barometer and presents the phase of the process the base group has chosen to work on. .

  • SWOT analysis. Here, leaders and those who are active in the organisation count as the inner circle. Other members, the target group and outsiders count as the external world. At least 3 factors in each rectangle.


Third round (base groups):

Outline of a plan of action

  • The table host presents the cross-section’s inventory of factors that could aid or obstruct the desired change. Participants are given an opportunity of making additions. Brief discussion: How can we take advantage of the positive factors? How can we deal with the negative factors?

  • The participants formulate the desired change as a specific goal and draw up a plan of action in three steps:


All the base groups’ SWOT analyses are posted around the walls of the room and next to them their plans of action.  The participants walk round the room and take in the analyses and plans.  Joint presentation and discussion

  • Each participant independently attaches ‘Markers’ to the items he or she finds particularly interesting.
  • Questions and discussion.


  • Has the conference been stimulating?
  • Have you got any new ideas?
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Posted in Applications, na, Organisational Level