Appreciative inquiry


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Appreciative inquiry

  1. 1. APPRECIATIVE INQUIRY By Karen Sander, EDRD 6000 University of Guelph, March 2014
  2. 2. Appreciative Inquiry “An approach to transformation and development that is all based on a questioning type of approach that searches for everything that gives life to a living human system when it most aligned.” David Cooperrider Appreciative Inquiry (AI) values the local environment and the world around us. AI uses an inquiry process of carefully crafted questions to find the good the better and the best, paying attention to what is right and what is working. This is done by placing expectations on capabilities and hope, by affirming past and present strengths (successes) and by discovering and being open to new potentials and possibilities. INQUIRY-SEARCH INQUIRY-DISCOVERY  Appreciative inquiry fosters high participation, involvement and cooperation among organization members and stakeholders.  Appreciative inquiry changes the dialogue from problem-oriented,(deficit) to discourse to possibility-oriented,(appreciative).
  3. 3. History of Appreciative Inquiry (AI) Appreciative inquiry (AI) was developed by David Cooperrider, Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Cooperrider’s doctoral dissertation in 1986 was "Appreciative Inquiry: Toward a Methodology for Understanding and Enhancing Organizational Innovation." Dr. Cooperrider’s work is especially unique because of the ability of Appreciative Inquiry methodology to enable positive change and encourage innovation in large and complex systems. View an interview with David Cooperrider at
  4. 4. Problem Solving vs Appreciative Inquiry
  5. 5. How is AI Different than other Participatory Methods? AI suggests an alternative approach that is appreciative in nature, rather than problem oriented which focuses on positive words, stories, and images. AI ask the questions such as “what works” and “why” and “what can we learn from the things that work?” AI recognizes that an organization’s history is a powerful source of positive possibilities. Appreciative Inquiry assumes:  that people individually and collectively have unique gifts, skills, and contributions to bring to life;  that organizations are human social systems, sources of unlimited relational capacity, created and lived in language;  that the images we hold of the future are socially created and once articulated, serve to guide individual and collective action; and  that through human communication people can shift their attention and action away from problem analysis to lift up worthy ideals and productive possibilities for the future. (Whitney & Cooperrider 1998)
  6. 6. The 4 Dimensions (Corporation for Positive Change) Discovery: what has been? The Discovery phase is a diligent and extensive search to understand the “best of what is” and “what has been.” It begins with the collaborative act of crafting appreciative interview questions and constructing an appreciative interview guide. Appreciative Inquiry questions are written as affirmative probes into an organization’s positive core, in the topic areas selected. They are written to generate stories, to enrich the images and inner dialogue within the organization, and to bring the positive core more fully into focus. Dream: imagine what might be? The Dream phase is an energizing exploration of “what might be”: a time for people to explore their hopes and dreams for their work, their working relationships, their organization, and the world at large. It is a time for groups of people to engage in thinking big, thinking out of the box, and thinking out of the boundaries of what has been successful and meaningful in the past.
  7. 7. Design: what should be? The Design phase involves making choices about “what should be” within an organization or community. It is a conscious re-invention or co-creation of the strategies, structures, culture, processes and systems needed to achieve the organization’s or community’s highest ideals. During Design an organization’s or community’s positive core of strengths, and its hopes and dreams for the future are aligned, integrated and embedded into a set of design propositions or principles. They in turn become the blueprint for its destiny. Destiny: what will be? The Destiny phase initiates a series of inspired actions that support ongoing learning and innovation – or “what will be.” Since the entire 4-D Process provides an open forum for participants to contribute and step forward in the service of the organization, change occurs in all phases of an Appreciative Inquiry process. The Destiny phase, however, focuses specifically on personal and organizational commitments and paths forward.
  8. 8. Examples of Appreciative Inquiry Questions (Strickland) Considering your entire time as an employee at your organization, can you recall a time when you felt most alive, most involved, or most excited about your involvement in the organization? What made it an exciting experience? What gave it energy?  What was it about you — unique qualities you have – that contributed to the exchange?  Who were the most significant others? Why were they significant?  In what ways did your organization contribute to the creation or support of this exchange? Your organization builds on “proven strengths” and has a history of being a pioneer in a wide number of areas. In your opinion, what is the most important achievement that you can recall that best illustrates this spirit of “being the best”? Can you think of a time when there was an extraordinary display of cooperation between diverse individuals or groups at your organization? What made such cooperation possible? How could these lessons be applied to your team? In your mind, what is the common mission or purpose that unites everyone on the Leadership Team? How can this continue to be nurtured? What is the core factor that gives vitality and life to you organization (without it the organization would cease to exist)? If you could develop or transform your organization in any way you wished, what three things would you do to heighten its vitality and overall health?
  9. 9. Appreciative Inquiry and the Collaborative Process Working toward a shared vision with common goals Creates space for everyone to have a voice Appreciative Inquiry: building from the positive – strength based I don’t like it but I will support the group’s decision I don’t like itI LOVE IT! I like the basic idea I don’t want to stop anyone else but I don’t want to be involved in its implementation! I can live with it No opinion THE AGREEMENT GAUGE
  10. 10. Case Study: Using Appreciative Inquiry to Create a Sustainable Rural School District and Community. 50_uaitcasrsdac.xml Purpose: To document an action research process in order to improve communication and collaboration strategies among stakeholders in a rural school district in a Midwestern State. Methodology: An appreciative inquiry (AI) action research methodology was used for this Case Study which took place over four consecutive weeks with nine purposively selected stakeholders. Findings: The Appreciative 4-D cycle, through shared personal narratives, promoted greater respect and value of participants' strengths/assets. Their defensive and reactive standpoint was altered to one of greater trust and hope through a collaborative process where participants shared concerns with the school district, community agencies which improved the relationships among the stakeholders. Implications: the participants came into the “research” process feeling powerlessness and encumbered with school district and stakeholder deficits. They left the process empowered as conduits of hope for their rural community by assuming leadership roles to improve stakeholder communication, build partnerships and capacity at many levels and to initiate transformative projects.
  11. 11. REFERENCES Calabrese, R., Hester, M., Friesen, S., & Burkhalter, K. (2010). Using appreciative inquiry to create a sustainable rural school district and community. International Journal of Educational Management, 24(3), 250- 265. doi:10.1108/09513541011031592 Cooperrider, D.L., Whitney, D., & Stavros, J.M. (2003). Appreciative Inquiry Handbook. 1st Ed. Bedford Heights, OH : Lakeshore Publishers Corporation for Positive Change. Appreciative Inquiry for Global Good. Retrieved from: inquiry/ Elliott, C. (1999). Locating the Energy for Change: An Introduction to Appreciative Inquiry. Winnipeg; International Institute for Sustainable Development. Strickland, Donna. Appreciative Inquiry Questions. Retrieved from: Whitney, D., & Cooperrider, D. L. (1998). The appreciative inquiry summit: Overview and applications. Employment Relations Today, 25(2), 17-28. doi:10.1002/ert.3910250203