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Appreciative Inquiry

What is Appreciative Inquiry?


Appreciative Inquiry is a popular new approach to organizational change. It makes positive difference in organizational outcome by encouraging people to study, discuss and build on what is working, rather than simply trying to fix what’s not.
It’s assumption is simple: every organization has something that works right—things that give it life when it is most alive, effective, successful and connected in healthy ways to its stakeholders and communities. By discovering and building on the life-giving forces, the organization is able to create a future base on the most nourishing energy.


What if, instead of seeing organizations as problems to be solved, we saw them as miracles to be appreciated?


Appreciative inquiry is an attempt to generate a collective image of a new and better future by exploring the best of what is and has been. The four principles Cooperrider and Srivastva (1987, p.160) articulated are that inquiry should begin with appreciation, should be applicable, should be provocative, and should be collaborative.

An appreciative inquiry can be thought of as consisting of these three parts:

Discovering the best of.... Appreciative interventions begin with a search for the best examples of organizing and organization within the experience of organizational members.

Understanding what creates the best of.... The inquiry seeks to create insight into the forces that lead to superior performance, as defined by organizational members. What is it about the people, the organization, and the context that creates peak experiences at work?

Amplifying the people and processes who best exemplify the best of.... Through the process of the inquiry itself, the elements that contribute to superior performance are reinforced and amplified.


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