Appreciative Inquiry Methodology in Management Practice

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Modern consulting methods have gone beyond the conservative schools and trends that existed in the past. The Appreciative Inquiry method can be considered one of the brightest and most progressive in working with private business problems. This approach focuses on positive discourse and dialogue with company employees and executives and positive experiences and company stories. The method seeks to create an optimistic faith in the future by disclosing the experience of past successes as a basis for the impetus to future achievements. The Appreciative Inquiry consists of 5D phases. Each of them forms a standard method: Defining is a critical component of the method; the Discovery phase reveals the best in the company; the Dream phase is based on people’s dreams of their future within the organization. Next, the Design is concerned with making decisions about actions related to further development. Finally, Destiny is associated with the final planning and forming of groups of actions to complete tasks at all stages (Lewis et al., 2011). Thus, Appreciative Inquiry uses a progressive and exciting consulting method of individual positive approach.

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In the first case, one should understand the situation: the HR department deals with individual employees, their recruitment, and integration within the company. It follows from this that the introduction of the Appreciative Inquiry method is more than appropriate, based on its focus on the individual characteristics of employees and a personal approach to individuals. It is also worth considering the structure of the approach, which consists of five relevant components in this situation. The conclusion in this situation can be considered the positive impact of Appreciative Inquiry on the activities of individual departments and people in the company, which is more than appropriate in the case provided.

With the Appreciative Inquiry approach, the company can easily see the effectiveness of the method’s components in action. From the Definition stage, interviews and dialogue with employees are conducted to the Destiny stage, which includes celebrating the learning already identified and the beginning of the process of moving forward (Cooperrider et al., 2008). Taken together, all of this will positively affect the depreciation of staff turnover and stabilization and the situation, as well as the further development of the effectiveness of the HR department. It is also vital that the process, even taking into account the investigation, will not take much time and will only have a positive effect on the development of the company and the solution to its current problems.

The following situation involves the negative outcome of the application of the Appreciative Inquiry methodology. Namely, the consultant that decided to use the approach created a long-term plan for the company that implemented the dreams of its stakeholders. However, the plan turned out to be not satisfying due to its visible unrealistic nature. Probably the problem of the approach applied in this case lies in the overvaluation of the workers ‘abilities as well as the organizations’ advantages. The manifestation of these issues is seen in the staff’s response to the plan: the employees think that the realization would require new workers. Therefore, the main reason for the fruitlessness of the plan is the wrong estimation of the company’s potential.

To prevent such a situation, the consultant could have done several steps. First of all, during the Discovery phase, the current strength of the workers should have been discussed. The phase presupposes the positive yet objective judgment of the workers’ skills that sustain the company’s success (Whitney & Trosten-Bloom, 2010). In this stage, the consultant should have critically evaluated the staff’s skills. Next, the Design phase includes discussing the probable actions for creating the perfect future for the company (Whitney & Trosten-Bloom, 2010). The consultant should have provided interviews with the workers to propose reasonable and achievable plans of action. Hence, more involvement of the staff in the planning process and rational evaluation of skills would improve the results of Appreciative Inquiry.

The third case describes a situation in which the company’s main problem lies in its employees, namely in their relationship and the tension that has appeared over time. The problem of motivation and the resulting stagnation period in the business itself is not new. However, the Appreciative Inquiry approach focuses on this kind of problem. In general, the approach will allow the company’s employees to realize their success at the start of the project and significantly improve relations within the team. You should consider the application of the elements of this method in this situation in more detail.

During the first day, the identification phase will occur, and the consultant will conduct a series of interviews, surveys, and interviews with employees and company management. This will allow one to gather information and get the necessary context about the problem. On the second day, the main strengths of the organization will be identified, and an assessment of its strengths. In the third, during the dialogue, there will be desires the hopes will be projected on what they learned about the organization in its best moments. The next day, a plan for further actions will be drafted, and on the final day, the implementation of what has been started in the last days will be consolidated and started (Lewis et al., 2011). As a result, all this will fruitfully improve the condition of employees and management and solve the problem of business stagnation.

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Finally, the fourth case depicts a typical situation when the firm’s staff is stuck while trying to create an innovative division of the company’s organization. The supermarket workers are ordered to develop an online version of the system. The central problem that the employees encountered was not the lack of appropriate skills but rather the novelty of the different departments’ unification. Previously, the marketing, accounting, and inventory departments worked separately and now have no touchpoints. Then, the issue to overcome lies in moving the barriers that keep the staff from cooperating and increasing creativity.

To solve this problem, the most appropriate approach would be that of Appreciative Inquiry. Above all, the methodology supposes the rise of creativity due to the nature of its core element — dialogue (Berrisford, 2005). If the workers had discourse, they would probably come up with specific innovations. But before that, the team needs cohesion and common grounds. Appreciative Inquiry’s Discovery Phase proposes discussing the firm’s history and structure (Lewis et al., 2011). The workers would determine the benefits of their firm’s composition and understand their shared values. Thus, the company would have a united team of workers who can come up with creative ideas.

In conclusion, it should be said that the Appreciative Inquiry approach is highly flexible and suitable for many situations, specializing based on any company: the people working for it. It uses a focus on dialogue and social interactions within the business. This is realized by sound and harmoniously combined 5D elements that reveal employees’ relationships, persona, dreams, and aspirations. All this gives people confidence in themselves, the future of the company, and their overall success. This positive outcome makes Appreciative Inquiry an exceptional and practical approach to organizing change.

References

Berrisford, S. (2005). Using appreciative inquiry to drive change at the BBC. Strategic Communication Management, 9(3), 22–25.

Cooperrider, D. L., Whitney, D., Stavros, J. M., & Fry, R. (2008). The appreciative inquiry handbook: For leaders of change (2nd ed.). Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Lewis, S., Passmore, J., & Cantore, S. (2011). Appreciative inquiry for change management: Using AI to facilitate organizational development (1st ed.). Kogan Page.

Whitney, D., & Trosten-Bloom, A. (2010). The power of appreciative inquiry: A practical guide to positive change (Second ed.). Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

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