From a communication perspective, dialogue represents a form of discourse that emphasizes listening and inquiry, with the aims of fostering mutual respect and understanding. Dialogue allows communicators to become aware of the different ways that individuals interpret and give meaning to similar experiences. It is viewed as a dynamic, transactional process, with a special focus on the quality of the relationship between participants.

The term dialogue derives from the Greek dialogos, in which logos refers to meaning and dia is a prefix that translates as through or across. Implied in its Greek roots is the notion that meaning emerges from interaction; it is not something that already exists, waiting to be discovered. Meaning is co-constituted through communication, reflecting both the form of message exchange and the relationship between individuals. Dialogue is made possible by the attitudes with which participants approach each other, the ways they talk and act, and the context within which they meet.

Dialogue is often contrasted with monologue, a transmission-focused process that is primarily concerned with control of the other and of the situation, and with discussion and debate, both of which involve dissecting or breaking things apart, with an emphasis on the presentation and defense of positions. Dialogue points beyond the everyday exchange of messages, implying a particular quality of communication that makes possible learning and change, in both self and others. Dialogue does not preclude disagreement; indeed it allows  participants to explore complexities of their own perspectives as well as those of others. Scholars advocate dialogue as a constructive way for individuals to navigate their differences in interpersonal, organizational, community, and public realms. This entry provides a brief overview of the primary “thought leaders” in dialogue theory and traces the way in which dialogue theory was incorporated into and developed within the communication discipline.

Littlejohn, Stephen W and Karen A.Floss. (2009). Encyclopedia of Communication Theory.USA:SAGE.654

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Gayes Mahestu
Edwina Ayu Kustiawan