Using appreciative inquiry in business research

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Lawson, A. and Veasey, C. 2023. Using appreciative inquiry in business research.
AuthorsLawson, A. and Veasey, C.
Abstract

Business research is commonly ‘problematised’. If a research project starts with the premise that a particular process is wasteful and inefficient, prospective participants might worry that it is their part of the process that is under scrutiny; that the problem is their fault. Sometimes no matter how strong the commitment to anonymity and confidentiality, some participants will not feel comfortable enough to open up completely honestly.

Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is an alternative way to approach research questions, such that they are not ‘problematised’. AI starts the research not from the point of problem solving but from a continuous improvement perspective – what’s going well and how can we emulate that elsewhere? AI celebrates good performance rather than focussing on poor performance and can help motivate people to engage in the research process. AI was developed by Cooperrider and Srivastva (1987) who felt that the problem-based approach limited the creation of new ideas and of new theory. They suggested that the use of a more positive approach would help to bring about organisational change. The approach consists of four stages that may be used in a cycle to bring about change – discovering, dreaming, designing and delivering. This session will introduce the approach, give some examples of AI in action and allow participants to experiment with applying it to their own research.

Cooperrider, D.L. and Srivastva, S. (1987) ‘Appreciative inquiry in organizational life’. In: Woodman, R. and Pasmore, W. (eds) Research in Organizational Change and Development, Volume 1, Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.

Keywordsappreciative inquiry; methodology; research methods
Year2023
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File Access Level
Controlled
Output statusUnpublished
Publication process dates
Deposited18 Dec 2023
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https://repository.derby.ac.uk/item/q35vx/using-appreciative-inquiry-in-business-research

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