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Everyone's Guide to Achieving Change: A Step-by-Step Approach to Dialogue with Decision-Makers

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Oxford Research Group
1 May 2007

Oxford Research Group, May 2007 (6th reprint)

Since 1982, Oxford Research Group has been building trust between policy-makers, academics, the military and civil society. Along with our internationally recognised consultants, we combine detailed knowledge of global security issues with an understanding of political decision-making, and many years expertise in facilitating constructive dialogue. This updated handbook, now in its 6th reprint, is designed to introduce the reader to the dialogue approach to achieving political and social change. It is based on ORG's 25 years' experience of working through research and dialogue to progressively marginalise the role and legitimacy of nuclear weapons in world politics, and to develop realistic non-military alternatives to the prevailing security orthodoxy.

The dialogue approach was pioneered by ORG in the mid-1980s, and applied initially through facilitating 80 groups of citizens throughout the UK to engage directly, by letter or face-to-face, with behind-the-scenes decision-makers and policy advisers on nuclear weapons, using the non-confrontational approach outlined in this handbook.

The principle idea is simple: by properly informing oneself on the issue, and then by building relationships of trust through non-confrontational dialogue with those who make and shape decisions, bridges of understanding can be built as a means of developing new ideas and making possible significant policy shifts. The ORG method has been developed and refined through the successful facilitation of off-the-record residential consultations and roundtable gatherings of people in key decision-making positions, and their critics. The dialogue process used at these meetings allows participants to reach a deeper understanding of each other on a human level and make progress towards resolving those political differences which can stand in the way of progress. In the ten steps outlined in the present edition of the dialogue handbook, the examples used mainly apply to nuclear weapons policy, but the principles of the dialogue approach can be applied to any issue which concerns an individual or group who wish to work in a non-confrontational and non-polarising way for political or social change.

The booklet offers:

  • The basic ingredients of the 'dialogue with decision-makers' approach to achieving change.
  • Why it works. 
  • How to research the decision-making process on a specific issue.
  • How decision-makers can be identified.
  • How to approach them in a constructive and effective way.
  • What may be expected from this dialogue.
  • How your skills and the skills of colleagues in your field can most effectively be used.


Our publications are circulated free of charge for non-profit use, but please consider making a donation to ORG, if you are able to do so.