Concept of Appreciative Inquiry

Module 4 – Background

Required Reading

To start off, take a look at this very short introduction to the basic concept of Appreciative Inquiry:

Hayes, J. (2009). Appreciative inquiry. Aarhus School of Business https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqHeujLHPkw

Now take a look at this slightly more detailed video. Pay close attention to the discussion of the “4D Model” towards the end of the video:

Kelm, J. (2011). What is Appreciative Inquiry? Appreciative Engagement. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwGNZ63hj5k

Now take a close look at these two short but important articles which provide direct comparisons between Appreciative Inquiry and traditional Organizational Development techniques as well as some of the main advantages and disadvantages of Appreciative Inquiry:

Venter, J. (2010). Appreciative inquiry. Accountancy SA, , 42-44. [ProQuest]

Zemke, R. (1999). Don’t fix that company! Training, 36(6), 26-33. [ProQuest]

Finally, read up in more detail with these more comprehensive chapters on Appreciative Inquiry. For the first of these readings, pay special attention to Table 1 and the comparison between Appreciative Inquiry and traditional Action Research (Deficit-Based) problem solving methods. For the second reading, pay special attention to the discussion of what is involved in each of the “4 D” steps:

 

Whitney, D. K., & Trosten-Bloom, A. (2010). Chapter 1: What is Appreciative Inquiry? The Power of Appreciative Inquiry: A Practical Guide to Positive Change. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers. [EBSCO eBook Collection]

 

Lewis, S., Passmore, J., & Cantore, S. (2016). Chapter 4: Appreciative inquiry: How do you do it? In Appreciative inquiry for change management: Using AI to facilitate organizational development. London: Kogan Page. [EBSCO eBook Collection]

Some of the other chapters in the books are optional to read but are worth looking at if you want to read up on Appreciative Inquiry in more detail. In addition, the optional readings below include an article about a real life practical use of this method and another book that includes some introductory chapters that may help you gain a better understanding of the concepts.

Optional Reading

Cooperrider, D. L., Whitney, D. K., & Stavros, J. M. (2008). Appreciative Inquiry Handbook: For Leaders of Change. Brunswick, OH: Berrett-Koehler Publishers. [EBSCO eBook Collection]

For a detailed case study of a real-life use of Appreciative Inquiry, see the following article:

Berrisford, S. (2005). Using Appreciative Inquiry to drive change at the BBC. Strategic Communication Management, 9(3), 22-25. [ProQuest]

Module 4 – Case

Case Assignment

For this assignment, first carefully review the required background materials. Make sure you remember the standard organizational development approaches covered in Module 1. Then make sure you understand the main principles of Appreciative Inquiry and how they compare to traditional organizational development approaches (action research, problem solving). It is also important to understand what is involved in each of the “4 Ds” – Discovery, Dream, Design, and Destiny.

When you are finished reviewing the background materials, go through each of the scenarios below and apply what you’ve read to these scenarios. For each scenario, cite at least one of the required readings to support your answer. You should cite at least three of the four required readings in your paper. Your paper should be 4–5  pages in length:

1. A corporation notices that suddenly turnover in the human resource department has been extremely high. This corporations prides itself on having a dedicated and committed workforce, so this high turnover in one department is highly troubling for this company. Normally the human resource department investigates when there is a high turnover rate in a department. But since the human resource department is now the department with the high turnover rate, the CEO decides that an outside consultant should be hired to investigate the high turnover rate and propose solutions. Should this team use an Appreciative Inquiry consultant, or hire a more traditional Organizational Development consultant? Explain your reasoning with references to the required readings.

2. An organization hires an Appreciative Inquiry consultant to help the company get back on track and improve the performance of its product design team. The consultant starts by asking members of the team how they would like the team to perform and what their ideal vision of the team would be. The consultant collects all of this input and designs a detailed plan regarding how to achieve this ideal future that the team dreams about. However, once this detailed plan is presented to the team they are all shocked that the consultant came up with such an unrealistic plan. Team members say that the expenses involved in this plan are far beyond their budget, and they would also need to hire many new team members in order to achieve this plan in a realistic time frame. They all agree it would be great if they had the time and money to implement this plan, but they also are in consensus that this plan presented by the consultant is highly unrealistic. What do you think went wrong? What steps do you think the Appreciative Inquiry consultant could have taken to make the consulting process go better? Refer to the specific “4 Ds” of Appreciative Inquiry in your answer.

3. A group of ten friends decide to start a new social networking company and put their savings together to start this new business. The company grows rapidly for the first five years and morale is very high in the company during this time. Everyone gets along very well and they work together cooperatively in order to continuously improve the company and its services. However, after five years the company stops growing and seems to reach a plateau. Morale seems to drop and there is now noticeable tension between employees including the top leadership team. They are not sure what to do revive the company, so they decide to hire a consultant. Should this team use an Appreciative Inquiry approach or a more traditional organizational development approach? Explain your reasoning with references to the required readings.

4. A large supermarket chain decides they would like to expand to have an online division where consumers can order online and have their groceries delivered directly to their homes. The supermarket decides to create a special taskforce to come up with a detailed plan on how they should develop and manage the new online division. This taskforce includes a diverse variety of employees including those from the marketing department, accounting department, inventory department, and most of the main departments. These employees do not have much experience working with each other since they are from different departments. After meeting regularly for a few months, the taskforce makes almost no progress and are constantly bickering. Management is concerned that the online division will never get off the ground. To get back on track and find a way to function more smoothly, should this taskforce use an Appreciative Inquiry approach or a more traditional organizational development approach? Explain your reasoning with references to the required readings.

Assignment Expectations

· Answer the assignment questions directly.

· Stay focused on the precise assignment questions; don’t go off on tangents or devote a lot of space to summarizing general background materials.

· Make sure to use reliable and credible sources as your references. Articles published in established newspapers or business journals/magazines are preferred. If you use articles from the Internet, make sure they are from credible sources.

· Reference your sources of information with both a bibliography and in-text citations. See the Student Guide to Writing a High-Quality Academic Paper, including pages 13 and 14 on in-text citations. Another resource is the “Writing Style Guide,” which is found under My Resources in the TLC portal.


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