Appreciative Inquiry (AI) in organizations

Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is described as a way of studying and changing the social systems of communities, organizations, and groups, which advocate for the best collective inquiry and collective design based on the future of the Desired State. The methodology was developed by David Cooperrider and Suresh Srivastva in the 1980s. AI has revolutionized the department of organization development thereby resulting in the rise of positive strengths on movements and the field of organization development in the American management (Coghlan & Brydon-Miller, 2014). The assumption of AI is that each human system has some distinct aspects or things that work right, which give life when it is essential, successful, and effective. Appreciative Inquiry starts by identifying the positive cores that connect in ways that sharpen vision, inspire action for change, and heighten energy. Therefore, this essay describes AI, its use, and significance in change management.

Appreciative Inquiry is about co-evolutionary search the best individuals, the relevant world around them, and their firms. In a broader way, the methodology involves systematic discovery to things that give life to a living system when human beings are alive, effective, and constructively capable in terms of ecological, economic, and human relations (Crous, 2019). Centrally, AI involves the practice and art of asking varied questions with the goal of strengthening a system’s capacity to anticipate, heighten, and apprehend positive potential. It entails mobilization of inquiry by crafting unconditional positive questions that often involve hundreds or thousands of individuals. The main task of AI is to give way to innovative and imaginative speed instead of criticism, spiraling diagnosis, negation, their dream, design, and discovery. The concept of AI aims at building a constructive union between individuals and the massive entirety of what they talk about as the present and past capacities.

AI is a positive approach and strength based on organizational change and leadership development. The methodology is used by teams, organizations, and teams to enable them to move towards a shared future vision since it engages strategic innovation in enabling organizations and people to achieve their goals (Asfaw, 2019). Appreciative Inquiry can be used to develop a personal strategic vision and for leadership coaching. Organizations and teams use AI to develop strategic plans, understand best practices, create forward momentum of large scale initiative, and shift culture. In the level of the society, AI is used to determine common ground topics for global significance, form multi-national initiatives, and shape directions of NGOs and nonprofits. This concept, which was developed in the 1980s, has been used internationally by both private and public organizations to address the growth of growth, improve customer services, develop leadership, pursue sustainable value creation, and to redesign organizational divisions.

Appreciative Inquiry has had a profound effect on organizational development practice in the world of business, governmental organizations, and nonprofit firms (Fifolt & Lander, 2013). It is because the methodology produces transformational changes without burning platforms or having crises. Most of the Appreciative Inquiries have been defined and documented in conferences, books, journals, AI Practitioners, and via Appreciative Inquiry Commons websites. Some of the AI inquiries include the use of AI to create Imagine Chicago, United Nations Global Impact, an inspiration to community development, and its use by Wal-Mart to create a global sustainability initiative. The inquiries have created an institution for positive change through dozens of large scale appreciative inquiries. Although empirical assessment for AI is limited, they are more plentiful when compared to organizational change strategies. It is because there is a growing body of critical and longitudinal studies that are used to identify mediating and moderating conditions that affect how Appreciative Inquiry is undertaken and under what opportunities, limitations, and conditions. Magically, AI does not have to overcome the needs for skilled facilitation, resourcing, and leadership for a large group intervention or organizational development. The unique significance of AI is in regards to identifying the power of possibility of centric when compared to problem-centric change strategies, bringing out the social constructionist theory in regards to widespread consideration of managerial practice, and enhancing an examination of positive emotions on change processes.

AI is an affirming methodology that is used to embrace institutional, organizational, and human change. As a transformational change way, Appreciative Inquiry provides life centric structured change that energizes people in companies to move in a direction most desired by the organization (Priest, Kaufman, Brunton, & Seibel, 2013). It is because its framework makes organizational members to focus on existing core strengths, successes, and capacities thereby enabling them to invite envision of desired future, design projects, and activities in an organization that members are willing to undertake. According to this methodology, every human being and system have something that is already working right to contribute to the effectiveness, success, and aliveness of members thereby connecting the perspective in a healthy way to the wide community and stakeholders. With AI Perspective, organizations and individuals will be able to create a positive change that is sustainable; hence, expanding the capacity for flourishing and wellbeing.

Organizational culture is described as a co-construction that is shaped by stories, relationships, practices, and language. The tone and quality of relationships, stories, and languages helps determine whether a given culture is productive, creative, and harmonious or destructive and de-energizing. It is because an individual’s culture can help foster either exclusiveness or inclusiveness. Adhering to certain cultures can lift people up or let them down since it heightens their spirit or on the other hand dampen them. The introduction and application of Appreciative Inquiry can help lift people up by ensuring that they achieve their aspirations in life. Through human imaginative capacity, Appreciative Inquiry enables individuals to pay attention to the best capacity in human beings but not the worst in people’s weakness and strengths (Bunshaft, 2018). Therefore, developing the human capacity to use their dreams and imaginations to influence their collective and individual destiny.

In brief, Appreciative Inquiry is a way of studying and changing the social systems of communities, organizations, and groups by advocating for collective inquiry for what is deemed essential for an organization. AI has helped transform organizations enabling them to achieve their goals. This new concept, which is evolving, though not welcomed by many workers, it is essential in motivating employees to help a company meet its goals. Appreciative Inquiry is regarded as a response to the issue of problem-solving skills that are prevalent in managerial work. The methodology can be used differently by firms and human beings to ensure that organizational assumptions are socially constructed phenomenon is not limited to human agreements and agreements only.



Asfaw, A. B. (2019). My Journey with Appreciative Inquiry. AI Practitioner, 21(1), 17–20.

Bunshaft, J. A. (2018). The Quest for Employee Voice and the Role of Appreciative Inquiry. AI Practitioner, 20(3), 46–51.

Coghlan, D., & Brydon-Miller, M. (2014). The SAGE encyclopedia of action research (Vols. 1-2). London: SAGE Publications Ltd doi: 10.4135/9781446294406

Crous, F. (2019). My Life with Appreciative Inquiry. AI Practitioner, 21(1), 11–16.

Fifolt, M., & Lander, L. (2013). Cultivating Change Using Appreciative Inquiry. New Directions for Student Services, 2013(143), 19–30.

Priest, K. L., Kaufman, E. K., Brunton, K., & Seibel, M. (2013). Appreciative Inquiry: A Tool for Organizational, Programmatic, and Project-Focused Change. Journal of Leadership Education, 12(1), 18–33.




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