Initiative fatigue: A wall that the Dialogic Method cannot yet scale



Initiative fatigue sets in when too many attempts at dialogue meet with consistent failure. Even if each failure exposes a new facet of the situation, which is then addressed in the next attempt at dialogue, such long, perhaps steep learning curves can create fatigue. It is a situation where the most willing or likely person to start a dialogue is burnt out and loses his/her/their drive to find a solution.

For example, the leader of a minority community could very well give up on engaging with the Government and resort to violence to restore a power imbalance. Such a leader may have tried many times to engage in dialogue, but was ineffective because, perhaps the right set of tools were unavailable to make the Dialogic Method work. Given this situation, the leader cannot, practically or realistically, keep trying again and again – at some point, even if the leader’s mind insists that dialogue should work this time, there’s a reluctance to initiate the dialogue because every one of the previous attempts have failed.

Initiative fatigue is a big brick wall for the Dialogic Method – a limitation that has not yet been addressed, perhaps, due to the nature of the Dialogic Method itself. When initiative fatigue sets in, the engagement between parties is, in effect, over – even if a viable solution to the conflict has not been found. Forcing further engagement goes against the principle of self-determination, which is a core principle of the Dialogic Method. So when one or perhaps all parties to a conflict decide not to engage anymore, the ‘no’ to further dialogue is also a valid response (instead of the sought after Winfinity solution) that must be accepted.