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Appreciative Inquiry
Creating A Positive Future

Appreciative Inquiry is an approach to organizational change based on strengths rather than weaknesses, on a vision of what is possible rather than an analysis of what is not.
-David Cooperrider, Case Western Reserve University

What is Appreciative Inquiry?


Appreciative Inquiry provides leadership and change management techniques that challenge the status quo. Traditional approaches to intervention into a group, a team, or an organization look at the unit as a problem needing to be fixed. Appreciative Inquiry works from a strength-based foundation of guiding principles. If you accept the following principles, Appreciative Inquiry is a process for change of interest to you:

  • What you focus your energy on increases.
  • Focusing on what you want to see achieved rather than on what you do not want to see promotes effectiveness.
  • Every individual, team and organization has positive qualities to be discovered. Focusing on the positive and working from strengths is more engaging to people than telling them they are a problem that needs to be fixed.
  • People are receptive to being asked to share positive aspects of themselves through the process of telling stories.
  • Organizations are living social structures. Through telling our stories we can co-construct the social systems we engage in daily. Through enhanced interactions we can impact processes including communication, conflict resolution, decision making, performance appraisals, and team interaction.

David Cooperrider and Suresh Srivastva developed the theory of appreciative inquiry (see http://www.appreciative-inquiry.org/AI-Life.htm). Appreciative Inquiry is based on the premise that from the moment of inquiry, the individual, team and organization experience a change. By using a strength-based approach, the social structure, whether it be a team or organization, moves in a positive direction accepting change guided by their initial input. Appreciative Inquiry is not asking people to change. Rather it is inviting people to co-construct their own realities and strategically plan their futures based upon two guiding concepts interwoven through the process of Appreciative Inquiry: The Positive Core and the 4-D cycle.

To learn more about Ai in education, click here.

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