The appreciative inquiry forms a new approach in the organizational development field. This approach has received much attention due to the success it has yielded in its application towards facilitation of organizational change. The process of appreciative inquiry develops the best within organizations with the purpose of creating a better future (Coetzer, Redmond & Sharafizad, 2012). The fundamental premise in the appreciative inquiry is that the movement of any organization is directed by its study.
Approaches that include Continuous Quality Improvement, Total Quality Management, Balanced Score Card, Open Space, as well as Future Search, bring about change management efforts. There exists the variance in the approaches of organizational management. The strategies include the use of evidence and measurement in decisions meant for quality improvement, employment of mediation, and negotiation in discovering common ground, following the processes aimed at building organizational assets among others (Barner & Barner, 2012). The organizational development tools have a great variance depending on the intervention, population, and context of the organization. However, most of these approaches focus on identifying specific mechanisms and coming up with the solutions to the identified problems. The identification of the mechanism follows critical analysis of the identified problems as it enables the development of a viable solution (Bednarz, Cavicchiolo, Marchi, & Tomassini, 2011).
The appreciative inquiry views organizational issues, concerns, and challenges in a totally different way. Instead of putting much emphasis on the problems facing an organization, members of the organization areas try to achieve success. Instead of making analysis of the causes and solutions, the members envision the aspect of success occurring regularly. The participants within an organization brainstorm on the requirement of the organization in terms of resources and tasks with the objective of achieving the desired future of the latter. The members of the organization will finally undertake implementation measures to achieve the desired changes (Biron, Burke & Cooper, 2013). The underlying assumption in regard to the approaches of problem solving is that organizations perform well through identifying and eliminating their deficits. Contrastingly, the appreciative inquiry states that the effective improvement of an organization is through envisioning, dialogue, discovery, as well as valuing, and molding the future (Baron & Cayer, 2011). The appreciative inquiry is powerful due to the manner in which the participants are inspired and engaged as it focuses on the positive experience of the participants. In the setting of a workshop, the participants relate and recall their personal experiences in regard to the success and devise actions that will enable such experiences to prevail in the organizational context (Malsch, Gendron & Grazzini, 2011). These experiences enable the participants to extract the specific elements within their success and devise ways of maintaining them in various practices. Since the appreciative inquiry focuses on the successes of the participants, it enables them to be grounded with knowledge and work with a sense of commitment given that they have been able to achieve success previously. The sense of confidence and affirmation of success enables the participants to engage actively in the paths of success and make more moments of success (Steyaert, Marti & Michels, 2012).
Proponents of the appreciative inquiry view it as an orientation to change and a philosophy that is fundamental in reshaping the organizational learning, development, and design. It is an alternative framework, mindset, or approach that focuses on illumination and affirmation of the success factors within an organization (Clossey, Mehnert, & Silva, 2011). The success factors are used within the development interventions existing within an organization, such as organization design, strategic plans, and evaluations of projects. It is, therefore, a philosophy consisting particular assumptions and principles that help in the identification of an organization’s future.
The criticism that exists on appreciative inquiry is the perception that it denies or ignores problems. Nevertheless, this perception is untrue since the appreciative inquiry seeks to address problems and issues from a different perspective in a constructive manner. The system reframes problem statement focusing on the successes and strengths. Instead of encouraging the participants to focus on problems facing the organization, the appreciative inquiry encourages them to improve on what they are performing well (Cruz-Cunha, 2009). This system also encourages the employees to state what they need and their expectations on the organization. The organization gets a better platform of addressing the challenges faced from a positivity perspective (Teece, 2011). The appreciative inquiry does not ignore the challenges faced by an organization or the negative side, but it has a different perspective of tackling these challenges. Appreciative inquiry does not exclude the existence of accounts of conflict, stress, or problems. The only difference is that the system of the appreciative inquiry does not use these challenges as the core basis of action or analysis.
The appreciative inquiry as an organizing theory and a method of changing the social system is a significant innovation in the field of action research. Those responsible for creating the action research envisioned the creation of a research method capable of yielding practical results alongside developing new social theory. Action research was envisioned to be a vital tool in regard to social change (Teece, 2011). Action research formed a cornerstone in the practice of the organizational development. Action research has, however, been controversial in the field of inquiry with researchers doubting its credibility of being a scientific method. Recently, action research has received criticism on its effectiveness as an organizational change method, as well as a process used in developing a new theory. Researchers, Fifolt and Stowe (2011), criticize the absence of a useful theory. This is caused by the studies in traditional research that shows an existence of a gap in the field of knowledge. The two researchers contend that the two methods of action research and organizational social theory are to be blamed. The dismal performance of organization is tied to poor methods of approaching the activities of an organization (Dick, 2011). The problem is that most of the action research projects make use of assumptions in the logical positivistic to establish recommendations. This approach treats psychological and social reality as fundamentally stable. Appreciative inquiry, a social-rationalist paradigm product, treats, psychological and social reality, and product in the existing moment are subjective to continuous reconstruction. The appreciative inquiry is an intentional theory of collective action and a search for knowledge that is designed in helping to evolve normative vision as well as the will of an organization, group, or society (Dixon, 2011). The hindrance to the performance of any organization focuses too much on the negative perspective instead of following the bright future. This study seeks to address the problems faced by the organization by introducing the contributions of appreciative inquiry as a tool for organizational change.
Purpose of the Study
This study seeks to evaluate the effectiveness of the appreciative inquiry as a tool in the management of organizations. Running of organizations is a complex issue and requires proper acknowledgement of the tasks before the leaders of the organization. This study looks into the manner how organizations are run and gives recommendations concerning the direction that leaders should take in evaluating performance of the organizations. Organizational change management is essential for organizations as it helps achieve the desired needs.
The environment and operations of the organizations keep on changing, and there is, therefore, the need to adopt policies and practices that address the needs of a specific company. The appreciative inquiry is open for continuous reconstruction and, hence, allows organizations to have a change in the management approach. This study outlines the performance of the appreciative inquiry in organizations. It also indicates the reasons as to why the method is better placed in addressing the needs of an organization compared to other management tools.
I. Why is appreciative inquiry a better development management tool?
II. How effective are the organizations that use appreciative inquiry as a tool of management?
III. Is it recommendable to have organizations change their organizational management tool?
I. To ascertain the reasons as to why appreciative inquiry is a better development management tool.
II. To determine the effectiveness of organizations that makes use of appreciative inquiry.
III. To ascertain whether it is viable for organizations to use appreciative inquiry as a development management tool.
Significance of the Study
The study is essential and useful to managers in various levels of management. The study provides an insight into the effectiveness of appreciative inquiry as a development tool within organizations. Researchers in this field of study may find this information relevant and useful as it is a secondary source of information. The research will form a reference point for researchers and academicians by way of adding the existing knowledge to this area. The study will also form a substantial base for the policy makers who work in the various levels of management within organizations as it offers guidance on the approaches to management. In addition, the research will come in handy in helping in the management of both markets and enabling better control of the affairs of an organization. In this perspective, the research will help in the elimination of the various operational lags that affect the growth and proper outline of organizations.
The study is relevant in the context of the organizations and institution’s operations. The insight given to management on the application of the appreciative inquiry is essential. It enables the top management in any organization to develop strategies and policies that help in the management of organizations. it also helps in increasing the efficiency of the operations of an organization.
This chapter provides a review of work that has been done by other researchers. This helps to identify an information gap in the process of addressing the sector of management within organizations. The information and data used will rely on work done by other researchers. The literature from other researches is vital in developing the following research. This research will purely use secondary data for review.
Appreciative Inquiry and Method of Change
The intervention of the appreciative inquiry can be viewed as consisting of three parts. The first part concerns the discovery of the best part of an organizational approach. Appreciative interventions start with searching for the best examples in regard to an organization and organizing within the organizational members’ experience (Gambrell, Matkin, & Burbach, 2011). The second part is on the understanding of what leads to yielding the expected results within the organization. The inquiry, therefore, seeks to establish the creation of insights in respect of the forces leading to superior performance. This stage aims at identifying the causes of the results of the organization and the context that leads to the peak experiences in the work (Castrogiovanni, Urbano & Loras, 2011). The third part involves amplifying the processes and people who best exemplify performance within the organization. Through the inquiry, elements contributing to exemplary performance are amplified and reinforced.
The approach aims at designing methods of inquiry that amplifies values that a system seeks to actualize. This trend has to be maintained in the whole process of inquiry. This feature is the main distinguishing feature of the appreciative inquiry in relation to other forms of intervention (Hodgson, 2011). Achieving this perspective is not an easy thing, but rapid change processes in regard to organizational renewal need to be established to help in this. The approach of the appreciative inquiry generates a momentum that is self-sustaining within an organization in respect of actualizing values, thus leading to superior performance (Githens, 2011).
The original appreciative inquiry form composed of a process of bottom-up interview where the organization members were tasked to give the forces within the organization that keep them motivated. Learning on this approach requires management to change structure and mode of governance to fit within this approach of the appreciative inquiry (Golembiewski, 2003).
The existence of a well-grounded structure determines the success of an organization in the application of the appreciative inquiry approach. The performance of every organization depends on how well it adapts to the changing environment in the field of operation. Institutions and organizations should not be rigid in acquiring new methods and strategies in improving the efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery (Grant & Marshak, 2011). Different sectors and institutions have adopted changes in their operations, especially in the changing world of technology. The adoption of a new system should bring significant and positive effects in the operations of any given institutions. The evaluation of change effectiveness is an aspect that rarely happens within an organization. It is critical for an organization to undertake evaluation process of their system in relation to the newly acquired system. This will help in determining whether there is any effectiveness in the operations and service delivery of the new system as compared to the old system (Hoivik, 2011). Adopting the system of the appreciative inquiry will require organizations to focus on their success factors and work towards improving them.
Certain procedures and processes should be applied in evaluating the effectiveness of change. The researcher should clearly identify the sections within the organization where change has occurred, and that needs evaluation (Hiebert & Klatt, 2011). Variables that directly relate to the change should be identified to determine whether their relationship with the new system is positive. These variables serve as the core check point of the change. The identification of the performance level is essential in the evaluation process. The level identified by the researcher should form the base of determining the effectiveness of the new system (Hoekstra & Korthagen, 2011). The main objective of undertaking an evaluation process is to determine the performance in the application of the adopted approach and offer recommendations thereof regarding the performance of the system. The appreciative inquiry is always open to reconstruction and, therefore, forms a basis of introducing a change management system. Organizations adopting this approach have been linked with better performance as per valuations done (Gray, Ekinci & Goregaokar, 2011).
The appreciative inquiry approach of leadership is among the best leadership strategies that a leader in the twentieth century could use in his/her position. Every organization requires a leader who could facilitate development and growth of the organization. The organization could only achieve changes through the involvement of people. An appreciative Inquiry style of leadership is people-centered. It aims at developing the people who act as change agents for the organization (Hughes, Thompson & Terrell, 2009). Leaders should develop strategies through teams in the organization to facilitate the acceptance of the strategies developed. A shift of the focus of the organization to a success centric approach would encourage the improvement of services, as well as the achievement of new objectives.
Through the appreciative inquiry, a leader can foster the capacity development, which leads to development of high commitment among other senior managers, as well as the staff within the organization. The appreciative inquiry also brings about the aspect of motivation since the members within the organization feel appreciated (Pinho, Rego, Cunha, 2012). Getting to know the performance of individuals and their areas of success may facilitate the redefinition of people’s mission and values.
There may be mixed reactions towards change in management and leadership of an organization, but in the long term, there will be increased cooperation and coordination among people. The appreciative inquiry focuses on the people’s interests and may render the leaders to change some of their practices and policies to incorporate what their employees do best.
The appreciative inquiry requires the managers to work in the trenches. This will enable them to learn what their employees do best and get to motivate them (Kautz, 2011). This approach also enables the leaders to develop better strategies of leading an organization as they have the facts regarding the operations of an organization at hand. Working in trenches within an organization is a perfect means of improving leadership skills. This approach helps the employers in realizing what their employees experience in their daily undertakings. The employers learn identical experience of the employees and get to determine what is viable for the operations of an organization (Lahman, 2012). Working in trenches allows the bosses to come down and work with their employees. The followinghelps in the development of trust among the employees. Employees often find it difficult to trust their employers because they do not know them. The experience of working undercover provides an opportunity for the employees to know their bosses thus developing trust in them. There is a development of personal relationship between the employees and the boss that helps in the improvement of work relations (Llfryn, 2012).
Working in trenches Allows the Employer to Achive
the effectiveness of the process of communication. Great leadership skills enable a manager to specifically and clearly communicate the vision, skills, goals, intentions, and expectations of the organization to the work force. A manager working in trenches will be able to evaluate the effectiveness of communication to his/her employees (Magda, 2011). This program enables the leaders to listen to and observe how the information released from the top ranking managers is received and the manner in which the employees implement such information. If the information is not received in a manner expected, the manager will be able to correct the errors within the communication channel. To improve communication skills, one should continually endeavor to improve non-verbal, verbal, and listening skills (Martinez, 2002).
This program also enables the leaders to develop motivational skills. The leaders have to learn how to prepare employees for the following day duties. The leader’s power will be measured as per the power of the team. The leader will always like to associate with employees, and thus, it will help the employees in utilizing their strengths to achieve the organizational goal (Lowman, 2002).
Implications on Human Resource Leaders
Implementing appreciative approaches may be rewarding, exciting, challenging, and frustrating. It may be difficult initially to break concern on deficits and focus on the moments of excellence within the company. There is a difficulty among many leaders in abandoning the traditional identification model of problems. Leaders are often moved to going back to the traditional ways of looking at the deficits and establishing means of overcoming the deficits. However, it is not the approach destined in the appreciative inquiry approach (Gonzalez, Quesada, Mueller, Mueller, 2011). The appreciative approach has one of its emphases in challenging the assumptions of an organization and the best means of addressing the process of change. In many organizations, the appreciative approach challenges the core values that lay much emphasis on criticism, conformity, and corrective feedback. Human resource managers have the opportunity of introducing processes that leverages strengths so as to ensure that the employee, customer, and shareholder value the enterprise. The appreciative inquiry relies on a belief that organizations grow in the direction they presume to explore. The adoption of this basic tenet will make the human resource leader a beacon in the organization (Germono, 2011).
There is a potential of revolutionizing the manner in which performance measurement and management are handled through the appreciative inquiry. If there is full embracement of the concept of the appreciative inquiry, evaluations will be made on the basis of cultivating collective and individual strengths. This action is aimed at creating the preferred future of the organization, as well as achieving individual and collective dreams (Giovanardi, 2011).
In the examination of the literature review on the appreciative inquiry, there are two claims that distinguishe AI from the other organizational development interventions. They are, however, related in a way apart from the two aspects. The appreciative inquiry approach results in the creation of new knowledge, theories, and models (Berg & Karlsen, 2011). The second distinguishing feature is that the appreciative inquiry results in the formation of generative metaphor that compels new action. The claim of generation of new knowledge, theories, and models is an important claim in this method of inquiry. McMullen and Adonor (2011) criticize the traditional action research, as well as the problem solving approaches. The scholars claim that they never lead to the creation of knowledge (McMullen & Adonor, 2011). The claim is that these approaches only recreate their processes of study. According to these researchers, action research fails to lead successfully to the creation of new theories and models of social organization. Further, they note that action research as per the organization development practice starts with an ideal group model that it assesses the system. They assert that the emergence of the appreciative inquiry is as a result of the need for the creation of new knowledge. Most of the powerful forces of change within the social system are as a result of the application of the appreciative inquiry in generating new ideas (Romme, 2011).
In the comparison of the organizational development with the appreciative inquiry, there is a necessity of understanding the aspect of the organization development (OD). The emergence of the OD culture is from the psychological science. It, therefore, focuses on behavior since it is a measurable aspect in the practice of psychology. The core of OD literature focuses minimally on changing the behavior of individuals (The Phillipine experience of appreciative inquiry, 2008). The manner in which individuals work together, solve problems, and communicate, influences changes within an organization. The OD intervention does not, however, bring changes to these aspects of behavior. For instance, the definition of the OD suggested by Kyriakidou (2011) is that it is a planned intervention within the processes of an organization. Simmons-Johnson (2012) describe the OD as a practice that enhances the development of an individual alongside improving the performance of an organization by altering the organizational members in regard to their job behavior. The OD moves beyond the process of instituting a change program to concerns of institutionalizing and stabilizing new activities in the organization (Simmons-Johnson, 2012).
Currently, there exist exceptions in regard to this view. Many researchers view the OD as mostly involving culture change, and to a small extent, changing of culture may be attributed to changing ideas. However, culture change mostly focuses on the behavioral consequences in regard to change of normative order. According to Shaked (2013), changing defensive routines involves changing the way in which people think, but this has not had any mush impact on the actual practice of the OD (Shaked, 2013). This may be attributed to the fact the methods proposed in this approach is not practically viable. There are, however, consultants who assist in changing the way they think and approach issues from a different angle. The proponents of this approach argue that inquiring into the positive is not the best approach and it is not the means of changing the way people think and behave. Although new ideas are vital for problem solving, the OD does not have any prescriptions for guiding individuals to developing new theories and models to address daily challenges (Smith, 2011). The consultants in this field are those who bring in new ideas in the knowledge that is tested by research and practice into the system of clients. This means that the clients’ task is to implement the knowledge that has been externally validated rather than encouraging the creation of the internally generated knowledge. This approach, therefore, contradicts the appreciative inquiry approach that encourages the creation of new knowledge and ideas in each of the members of the organization (Martin & Raymond, 2011).
The theorists of the appreciative inquiry describe what they aspire to create as new lens used for viewing old issues. The voyage of discovery described as real implies having new eyes but not finding new landscapes. Having new eyes implies that people should have an open mind to think of new ideas and new ways of handling things within their organization. This process begins with the intervention inception according to the manner in which framing of the inquiry is done (McCarthy-Byrne &Mentzer, 2011).
Within the appreciative inquiry, there is a new kind of lens known as generative metaphor. These are sayings that are provocative and, hence, can lead to the creation of new possibilities of actions that have not been considered before. Generative metaphor may consist of words with juxtapositions that evoke ways within paradoxical dilemmas that cause redundancy in the social systems. Sustainable development has a profound and sweeping change within the corporate as well as government attitude in the ecological movements, unfreezing the stuckness decades between environmentalists and government leaders (Waclawski & Church, 2002).
Intervention Processes and Models of AI
The main model of intervention that is linked with the appreciative inquiry approach is the 4-D cycle. This cycle forms an elaboration of the principles of practice within AI. The beginning of the cycle is the discovery where the appreciation of the existing situation is manifested. The second stage in the cycle is the dream. It involves the imagination of what could be then followed by the design that indicates what should be. The final stage of the 4-D cycle is the destiny that encompasses the creation of what would be (Wollard & Shuck, 2011).
The inquiry process is a collection of stories emanating from stakeholders and system members regarding their best experiences. This is supposed to happen in the discovery phase. People respond to questions of the affirmative topic. An inquiry is made on the events that make people more motivated alongside their best experiences in work. Often, in most organizations, people function as a team. The appreciative inquiry seeks to discover what motivates individuals within organizations to work as a team. The theorists of appreciative inquiry have stressed on the need to have a narrative in the process of organizing. People always tell of their experience within the organizations through stories. Listening to the narratives by the members of the organizations makes the leaders discover the best parts of successes for individuals and organization as a whole. Changes in the stories of individuals within an organization may have an implication on the informal organization. The life of an organization tends to unfold just like a narrative. This can be given through the talks in which people engage within the social environment of an organization. The story lines in these conversations always dwell on the past, present, and future of an organization. The leaders will be able to determine the positive aspects of an organization from the perspective of the participants (Watkins & Mohr, 2001).
The prescriptions of the practices of the AI that distinguish it from the development and change methods of an organization have been tackled. The underpinning idea is that the AI creates a ground for organizational analysis. The creation of a new ground leads to the emergence of new possibilities that drive the members to work towards achieving the desired goals and results. Research on the appreciative inquiry within an accounting firm conducted by Zipsie and Tripp (2002) engaged the employees in appreciative interviews on the description of the best work experiences. The findings of the research were that the use of the word integrity was high compared to the use of the word profit. In this case, the values of the firm as per the appreciative inquiry are vital and contribute to the success of the firm (Zipsie & Tripp, 2002). The discovery is that the personal values on integrity are more profound within the organization. This forms a ground under which the organization and individuals can make decisions, as well as take actions. This implies that if a client calls on a product that the organization does not have, the employees can always engage in integrity and convince such a client to have another product instead. In this regard, change does not result from the inquiry that makes integrity and ethics figural but rather from the ground exploration of peak experiences from the company.
Methodology in this research provides an insight on all the methods used throughout the research work. In this chapter, the methodological approach used in this research will be evaluated, which will determine the main approaches used in carrying out the research.
There are two main methods used in carrying out the research, which are the qualitative and quantitative methods. The qualitative method is a subjective method used in carrying out the research that is based on respondent's opinion. This kind of research is subjective in nature since it is dependent on the subjectivity of the respondent’s opinion. The qualitative method of carrying out research is used when the researcher wants to collect subjective data. In addition, qualitative research has been used when the research work is exploratory rather than explanatory in nature (Zipsie & Tripp, 2002).
Research design encompasses all the methods used in the research process. It involves the selection of the sample and the collection of data. This has been outlined in details in the next subsections.
Data Collection Technique
Vital information has been obtained from articles, books, and journals that deal with the issue of protection and privacy of information. Sites like Google have been useful in the reviewing of the literature. A better choice of the research relies on the strategic choice and research, as well as the hypothesis of the study. The study incorporates a combination of various strategies in order to obtain vital and diversified information in the quest of identifying the well-founded information.
This study is designed to analyze the various cases where the appreciative inquiry has been evident. The study also will analyze the contribution of the appreciative inquiry as a development management tool of an organization.
This study seeks to evaluate the extent of using the appreciative inquiry in the context of running of organizations. Most organizations have previously focused on the tradition research action in running of organizations. The situation has been changing, and the adoption of the appreciative inquiry as an organizational development tool in the 21st century is expected to be extensive. The sample space contains a few cases of organizations within the process of the new system. The situation analysis encompasses the general perception of the appreciative inquiry in running of organizations.
Validity of the Study
The sources used in this study ensure there is relevant data in regard to the appreciative inquiry as an organizational development tool. The sources used discuss the various aspects of the appreciative inquiry in various cases. The sources have been selected with the objective of ensuring the conclusion given clearly reflects on the issue of the development within organizatiosn. Analyzing of the various sources has been undertaken before arriving on the choice of the source to be used. This ensures that the sources selected contain detailed and relevant information. This study uses of academic sources, and thus, the completeness and quality of information are ensured. The up-to-date sources ranging from year 2002 to 2012 are used in the study. This ensures completeness of information as the sources address the current issues in the running of organizations.
Reliability of the Study
The study has undertaken a critical analysis on the various cases where the appreciative inquiry has been evident. It has also compared the figurative and ground aspects in the field of inquiry. Various organizations have different approaches used. From the analysis taken, certain information will be deduced that will form part of the recommendations. The information has been obtained from the credible sources, and hence, it is highly reliable in providing the necessary recommendations. The analysis that has been undertaken depends on the available information regarding the sector. The diversity in the scope of the study also enhances the reliability of the information given. The analysis has done from various organizations in different perspectives. The study has focused on a sample of analysis from some of the performing organizations. The study also covers issues that affect the operations of different sectors in the organizations and how different participants engage each other. Having tackled a wide scope of operations, the information provided is highly reliable, due to the availability of diverse information.
Unit of Analysis
In the research, the unit of analysis involves an evaluation of the variables under the study. In this research, the unit of analysis will involve an evaluation of the variables of examination. In this study, the variables encompass the variables of appreciative inquiry. The evaluation will also include the effectiveness of these variables towards organizational change management.
Overview of Data Analysis
Data coding assists in the analysis and discussion of the results. When the case is coded as transformational, then the evidence given is of qualitative shift emerging after the qualitative inquiry. The code of no transformational describes new procedures, processes, methods, or plans applied without any change of the system basic nature.
If the process put some elements for further inspection, the coding was figure. If the inquiry process penetrated deep to the extent of creating new background assumptions, then the coding was ground. Cases that described a kind of artefact guiding the participants were coded as possessing generative metaphors. These were symbols that provided a meaning upon which the members of the group agreed.
A case is deemed to have gone through the implementation if the goal pursued is a specific tangible change previously agreed upon by decision makers. The destiny phase indicates the implementation of ideas emerging from the process of inquiry. The improvisation code is a situation of diverse and numerous ideas for changes that are pursued by several actors.
There are two key things that emerge in the analysis of AI cases. One of these things is that there is an association of the transformational outcomes with the radical prescriptions by AI that advocates for change practice. The focus on changing the way people think other than what they do is different from conventional practice of the OD. Reviewing the existing textbooks on the OD indicates the time for people changing the way they think is a sustained focus in the theory and practice of the OD only in training discussions and laboratory education. Changing the way people think lurks implicitly within the normative re-educative model of change, which forms the foundation of the field of the OD (Waclawski & Church, 2002). The focus in the application of these theories lies in changing the group norms, as well as the accepted behaviors. The appreciative inquiry brings the importance of creating social science aiding in new ideas’ formation.
The other key thing that emanates from the analysis is that AI techniques used in the conventional change processes result in more conventional change outcomes. It is evident that in this case, the 4-D is not expected to lead to a revolution in change of itself. Collecting stories in regard to the positive happenings may be more engaging as compared to other data collection methods. However, this does not appear to indicate any distinction of transformational change outcomes and other change outcomes. The possibility is that they are thought not sufficient to result in the transformational outcomes. From the cases, it is arguable that some authors conclude that collecting positive stories ensured feasibility of the change process implementation. There has been argument in other fields that sharing positive stories leads to profound relationships among the participants. However, the analysis of the cases e indicates that it is not a sufficient condition for transformation within/of the large systems. Some practitioners may find it wise to use the practices of AI to implement new processes, but there is no reason for not doing so as there exists a possibility of better techniques for accomplishing this objective. Some less thoughtful practitioners may engage in the collection of positive questions through the use of 4-D model and get contented that is the all there needs to be. Some of these practitioners may engage in inquiring about the positive happenings forgetting that full inquiry requires understanding both the negative and positive aspects of any happening. AI practices through evoking of stories need to develop a new system or approach of handling issues (Wollard & Shuck, 2011). It should evoke among the participants the concept of change and establish a framework that focuses on achieving the desired goals. A system of the AI that is not focused on this approach does no good in comparison to other approaches.
The appreciative inquiry also happens in teams where individuals focus on the aspects of the AI to establish a better platform of doing things. Individuals within a group develop practices that enable the team to move to the greater heights. Each member of the team has some positive aspect in relation to the team and the organization. Identifying these aspects within individuals helps in the establishment of a platform that can be used to trigger the group towards higher performance.
Conclusion and Recommendations
The appreciative inquiry is a tool used by leaders of organizations in drafting the progress and ensuring performance of an organization. Concerning most of the times, leaders are always tempted to look at the negative aspects of their workers and will often complain of the negative aspects. The appreciative inquiries focus on appreciating the efforts of each and every participant within the organization and encouraging them to achieve more. Appreciating the positive performance of individuals makes them motivated. It is an important aspect of a Human Resource Leader who focuses on motivating workers in order to achieve more results. Motivating workers makes them appreciate the role they are playing within the organization and will always work to achieve the objectives of the organization.
Critics of this process of inquiry argue that the process ignores the negative aspects within the organization. They argue that the approach does not care about those things that make the organization crawl in terms of performance. However, it is a misperception since the AI approach main focus is to improve the performance of any system. This means that it has to have some reflections on the things making the organization crawl and then develop a mechanism to improve on the successes. The only difference of this approach and other approaches is that it does not put much emphasis on the negative aspects and failures of an organization. The underlying idea in the practice of the AI is that it leads to the creation of a ground that, in turn, leads to the creation of new ideas.
If the process of the AI is to achieve success, then there must be the aspect of the idea creation. Creating new ideas determines an extent that a leader will establish a new approach of doing things. The process of the AI involves a narration and evolution of stories. The communication process and the stories people tell within the organization is an important aspect. These stories tell a lot about the company. The perception of workers about an organization forms a great basis of evaluating new approaches of handling issues. Sometimes managers are forced to integrate with the workers to know their perception on the organization, as well as the leadership of the organization. This may force the managers to work in trenches or at times work as undercover bosses. The positive side and the success stories of the workers in the organization should be emphasized and managers encouraged to work along that route. Workers prefer working in an environment in which they are comfortable, and therefore, motivating workers goes a long way in improving the overall performance of the organization.
The appreciative inquiry is different from other forms of organization intervention. The result of the appreciative inquiry is the creation of new theories and models. The appreciation inquiry also results in the formation of a generative metaphor. These two aspects distinguish the appreciative inquiry from other forms of organization intervention. The appreciative inquiry, therefore, serves as a better tool for organizational management as it has been identified to yield better results. However, this study does not limit undertaking further studies into this field. The changing nature of the organizational environment requires a constant review of the approaches used in guiding an organization. Recommending this method to an organization does not in itself discard the use of other approaches; though, it may be offered as a compliment for those approaches.
This approach helps in the discovery of organization’s strengths and assets, envisioned image, aspirations statements, and best practices. The effectiveness of this process determines the extent of engagement of the leaders with every stakeholder of the organization. The contribution of each stakeholder to the organization is vital as it leads to the enactment of practices and procedures that guide the operation of the organization. It is the development plan that serves as a clear map that leads towards the long term sustainability and growth of the organization.
Successful organizations share a vital characteristic of ensuring customers’ satisfaction. The appreciative inquiry has indicated aspects of success in achieving heights within organizations. The management have to take this approach seriously without ignoring other approaches. They should strive to evaluate constantly, as well as leverage service quality levels. The management within organizations may think of coming up with a master development plan in regard to the AI process. The management should ensure maximum utilization of human and financial resources at their disposal.
Future studies done using the methodology of the AI should strive to capture and measure quantitatively the real benefits accruing to the organization as a result of the AI. This would increase credibility to the study, as well as convince skeptics on the efficacy of using the technique.
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