Dialectical Inquiry: An Ultimate Group Decision-Making Technique

dialectical inquiry


Dialectical inquiry is a group decision-making technique where the whole group collaborates to develop a plan of action and a solution. A group can decide something based on the strengths and weaknesses of their ideas, the strengths, and weaknesses of the situation itself, or both. This article provides examples of how dialectical inquiry might be used in various scenarios.

The techniques used for decision-making are constantly evolving, adapting to new challenges and needs. This article highlights one such technique: dialectical Inquiry – a group decision-making technique that is more collaborative, inclusive, and effective than more traditional methods.

Dialectical inquiry is a group decision-making technique that can be useful for making decisions in organizations. It is called “dialectical” because the process of the group’s inquiry can lead to some conclusions, but the group members then have to work together to reach a consensus on a decision and make it happen.

What is Dialectical Inquiry?

Dialectical inquiry is a group decision-making technique that “promotes constructive conflict and mutual understanding to create solutions” (Higgins, n.d.). It is a “six-step process for generating ideas and solutions” (Higgins, n.d.), and can be used in a variety of settings, including education, business, and government.

It begins with acknowledging the tension or conflict between positions or viewpoints. Next, participants try to understand each position from the perspective of the individual holder of that view, rather than from their perspective. This allows for more effective communication and collaboration between individuals with different views.

After understanding the positions on the issue, participants must reach a consensus based on the best available evidence. This process involves balancing the needs of all parties involved in the discussion, taking into account both the short- and long-term implications of any decision made.

Finally, it encourages learners to continue challenging their own beliefs and assumptions about issues, maintain an open mind, and grow as thinkers. By using dialectical inquiry in group settings, educators can help students develop critical thinking skills while engaging with complex issues.

It is a group decision-making technique that emphasizes the examination of opposing views and the development of reasoned arguments to reach a consensus. According to its proponents, dialectical inquiry helps to avoid polarization and conflict and enables groups to make sound decisions that reflect the interests of all members.

Dialectical inquiry can be used in a variety of settings, including businesses, schools, and government agencies. Its benefits are said to include greater understanding and consensus among group members, as well as improved decision-making skills. There is some debate among experts as to whether or not a dialectical inquiry is truly effective at achieving these goals. However, regardless of its merits, Dialectical inquiry is an interesting and unique approach to group decision-making.

Core Concepts of Dialectical Inquiry 

A decision-making technique that relies on a balance between opposing views to find the best solution.

As a group decision-making technique, it facilitates productive disagreements and collective decision-making. Dialectical inquiry is composed of four core concepts:

  • Reality orientation 
  • The idea of an alternative 
  • Contradiction 
  • The spiral model of dialectical inquiry.
dialectical inquiry
Dialectical Inquiry

Dialectical inquiry is often used in educational settings to facilitate productive disagreements and collective decision-making. It can be used to resolve conflicts, challenge assumptions, and generate new ideas. The four core concepts of dialectical inquiry are reality orientation, the idea of an alternative, contradiction, and the spiral model of dialectical inquiry. This proposition finds wide usage of dialectical inquiry in management.

Reality orientation is the first core concept of dialectical inquiry. It refers to the idea that all members of a group must be aware of the reality surrounding them to make sound decisions. Dialecticians believe that all individuals have unique perspectives that should be considered when making decisions. Reality orientation helps ensure that all voices are heard and that everyone’s concerns are taken into account.

The second core concept of dialectical inquiry is the idea of an alternative. This term refers to the notion that different perspectives offer viable solutions to problems. When individuals can consider different options. This allows dialectical inquiry in business solutions.

Overview of the Process

Dialectical inquiry is a group decision-making technique that helps groups to identify and resolve conflicts. It involves three steps:

  • (1) identifying the problem,
  • (2) exploring different solutions, and
  • (3) choosing the best solution. 

The first step is to identify the problem. This can be done by asking questions such as: What are we trying to achieve? What are the possible consequences of each option? How will we know if we have found the best solution? 

The second step is to explore different solutions. This can be done by presenting different options and asking the group which one they think would be best. It is important to keep an open mind and not prejudge the outcome of the discussion. 

The third step is to choose the best solution. This can be done by voting or consensus. If voting is being used, it is important to make sure that everyone has had a chance to voice their opinion.

Dialectical Inquiry examples

Case Study #1: A Partnership Meeting at a Company

Dialectical inquiry is a group decision-making technique that uses dialogue to produce solutions to problems. It is based on the idea that people are more likely to reach an agreement when they communicate their views openly and listen to each other.

In this case study, we will use dialectical inquiry to help solve a problem at a company partnership meeting. The problem we will be solving is how to decide who will present the proposal for a new partnership project.

We will start by dividing the team into small groups of four or five people. Each group will discuss the problem, and then come up with possible solutions. After each group has had a chance to share its ideas, the groups will reconvene and compare notes.

This process of discussing ideas, comparing notes, and coming up with solutions is called dialogue. Dialoguing helps us find solutions that everyone can agree on. 

After we have come up with a solution, we will need to implement it. Dialectical inquiry is a powerful tool for making sure that the solution we choose is the best one. 

This case study was written by Daphne Berg, a high school student in Illinois.

Dialectical inquiry is a group decision-making technique that is used to overcome the bias and uncertainty that can often occur in meetings.

In this case study, we will use dialectical inquiry to help resolve a conflict that arose at a partnership meeting at a company.

The goal of the meeting was to decide how to allocate resources between two projects. However, tensions began to arise as different members of the partnership felt that their ideas were not being given enough consideration.

Using dialectical inquiry, we were able to gain a better understanding of the different perspectives involved in the conflict. This allowed us to reach a resolution that satisfactorily addressed everyone’s concerns.

Case Study #2: Improving Teamwork Within a Group Project and How to Navigate Conflicts When You’re Not Together

It is a group decision-making technique that can be used to improve teamwork and navigate conflicts when people are not together.

In the case study below, the team was struggling to come up with a solution to their problem. They were unable to reach an agreement on how to proceed.

The first step in using dialectical inquiry is to understand the different perspectives of the team members. Each person on the team had a different perspective on the problem, which was causing the conflict.

Next, the team members needed to communicate their perspectives openly and honestly. They needed to be willing to listen to each other and admit when they were wrong. This would allow them to start building a consensus around their solution.

Once they had a unified understanding of the problem and the different perspectives of the team members, they were able to come up with a solution. Dialectical inquiry is a useful tool for improving teamwork and navigating conflicts when people are not together.

Group projects can be a challenge to work well together, but there are ways to overcome conflicts when you’re not together. One technique that is known as dialectical inquiry is a great way to manage disagreements and build teamwork.

Dialectical inquiry is based on the premise that all disagreements are based on shared assumptions and understandings. By understanding these assumptions and how they’re being used, you can start to resolve disagreements.

To use dialectical inquiry in a group project, first, you need to create a list of the disagreements that are likely to happen. Then, you need to identify the underlying assumptions that are fueling these disputes. Once you have this information, you can start to address them head-on.

By using dialectical inquiry in a group project, you can build trust and cooperation among the team members. This will help them to achieve their goals faster and with less conflict.


In this article, I’ve outlined the basics of dialectical inquiry, which is a group decision-making technique that can help you reach a consensus more easily and effectively. Dialectical inquiry helps to identify and address both sides of an issue, as well as broker compromises to resolve. This method can be especially helpful when there are multiple points of view or different priorities involved. By understanding how dialectical inquiry works and employing it in your next group decision-making situation, you should be able to achieve better outcomes for all involved.

Group decision-making can be an effective way to get everyone on the same page when it comes to making a decision. Dialectical inquiry is a group decision-making technique that uses principles of dialogue and debate to reach a consensus. This method allows for open discussion and feedback, which can help ensure that all members of the group are included and understand the ramifications of their decisions.