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The Power of Appreciative Inquiry: A Practical Guide to Positive Change 2nd Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1605093284
ISBN-10: 1605093289
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  • The Power of Appreciative Inquiry: A Practical Guide to Positive Change
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Results from Appreciative Inquiry at Green Mountain Coffee vastly exceeded my expectations. This marvelous book explains the process of AI and shares the excitement.  It describes a process that truly will make the world a much better place.”

—Bob Stiller, founder and chair, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters

About the Author

Diana Whitney, Ph.D. is the president and founder, along with David Cooperrider, of the Corporation for Positive Change—an international center for Appreciative Inquiry education and consultation. Her clients have included British Airways, Cap Gemini Ernst and Young, the Department of Labor, Hunter-Douglas Window Fashions, GE Capital, GlaxoSmithKline, GTE (now Verizon), Johnson & Johnson, NY Power Authority, PECO, and Sandia National Labs.

Amanda Trosten-Bloom is Director of Consulting Services for Corporation for Positive Change. She is a member of the Global Council for Appreciative Inquiry Consulting. Her clients have included Accenture, Front Range Community College, Hunter-Douglas Window Fashions, the Iliff School of Theology, McDATA Corporation, Providian Financial Services, SmithKline Beecham Clinical Laboratories, and the University of California at Berkeley.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers; 2 edition (March 8, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1605093289
  • ISBN-13: 978-1605093284
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #304,144 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Bill Godfrey on February 22, 2005
Format: Paperback
Appreciative Inquiry (AI) belongs in the same family of techniques as Future Search and related approaches to large scale intervention designed to support or bring about positive change. To over-simplify what distinguishes it from other techniques, its focus is very strongly on identifying and building on what is already being done well and on unrealized strengths, rather than on fixing what is not going well. This does not imply avoiding recognition of what is wrong; rather the focus is on finding a way in to the necessary process of change that identifies and encourages a focus on the positive. It also operates from a carefully articulated set of principles, which amount to a philosophy of the dynamics of organizational change.

The authors have been deeply involved in the development of the technique and have provided a clear and comprehensive guide to its principles, the techniques used and their applications. The book as a whole is somewhat evangelistic, but not outrageously so.

The book is organized around the cycle of development and change and eight principles. The cycle is broadly the same as that used by other techniques in the family, but is here called 'the 4-D cycle', the 4 Ds being; Discovery - appreciate what is; Dream - imagine what might be; Design - determine what should be; Destiny - create what will be.

The 'eight principles', taken as a whole, are more distinctive. They are:

1. The Constructionist Principle. Words create worlds and reality is a socially created construct, created through language and conversations

2. The Simultaneity Principle. Inquiry creates change - the moment we ask a question, we begin to create change

3. The Poetic Principle. What we choose to study makes a difference.
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Format: Paperback
As a practitioner and passionate "convert" to AI from more traditional action research and deficit approach/gap analysis models, I wish I'd had this book 5 years ago when first exposed to AI. It is an outstanding "how to." The descriptions of various designs and activities were pleasant affirmation that the interventions I had designed were "right on." I found the authors' weaving in of actual cases and their candor about when things waned or executives pushed refreshing and reassuring.
The model in chapter 2 of "change agenda, form of engagement, and inquiry strategy" is an excellent way of looking at an initiative from the beginning, parallel to Peter Block's "entry and contracting" phase in action research, but in AI language and philosophy. Whitney & Trosten-Bloom add 3 more underlying principles of AI to Cooperrider's original work:wholeness, enactment, and free choice. They are right on in my opinion. What was particularly helpful in this section was the "principle in practice" followed by an example.
The tables of suggested steps/sequences for each section describing the 4D model in practice were particularly helpful guides, though the authors continually remind the reader of the improvisational nature of this philosophy and approach to positive change. The whole book was respectful of different learning styles and made meaning out of so much of the earlier, more academic publications about appreciative inquiry.
Whitney and Trosten-Bloom have created a very "user friendly," accessible handbook, well organized and written in layman's language.
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Format: Paperback
First of all, we must note that this is a significant book among the many that have been written on Appreciative Inquiry. This book is brilliantly written with the practioner in mind and is easy to understand. I mentally refer to it as my `happy book' since I grin and feel good each time I pick it up to read. It deals with those pesky questions such as, `what do I do first?' and `how can I get a large organization enthusiastic about using AI?' These ladies also give us some other options than using the AI summit (there are 8 options in all), which can open more possibilities and let us use our own creativity to apply to AI.
The book is organized into three sections: Chapters 1-4 explain what AI is and how it works, Chapters 5-10 explain ways to practice AI and the last Chapter 11 deals with why it works so well. Additionally, each chapter gives specific, practical advice on "how to" with charts and case studies. Perhaps the most valuable chapter is in the third section, which answers the questions "why does AI work so effectively? Perhaps you may do as I did and read this chapter first. This is a very powerful and valuable chapter.
Although based on sound theory and research, the real value of this book comes from the experiences each author shares with us, which highlights ideas and concepts with specific examples from the field. Appreciative Inquiry can seem to be deceptively simple. Simple, it is not. We have only scratched 5% of the learnings from AI's beginnings and there is so much more to learn and experience. The importance of this particular book is that it can be so helpful for both the novice (the one who is trying to understand what AI is all about) and the experienced practioner (the OD professional who uses AI in her practice).
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