Driving Performance Through Appreciative Inquiry: Role of Pygmalion Effect in Academics and Industry

Driving Performance Through Appreciative Inquiry: Role of Pygmalion Effect in Academics and Industry

Somrita Saha (Amity University, Kolkata, India)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9675-2.ch001
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Appreciative inquiry (AI) is an approach to organizational transformation that focuses on strengths and positivity rather than weaknesses and negativity. The chapter endeavours to relate how the theory of Pygmalion effect is interrelated with AI practices. The Pygmalion effect is a psychosomatic phenomenon wherein high expectations lead to enhanced performance in a given area. Attempts have been made to explain how the process or action of appreciative inquiry based on the theory of Pygmalion effect influences academic performance, innovative practices, and employee behaviour to a great extent. It has briefly touched upon the concept of appreciative education as well, which is a framework for delivering high quality education on both an individual and organizational level. It insists to link the positive energy of AI directly to any change agenda and asserts that changes, which were never thought possible in individuals, institutions, and organizations, will suddenly and democratically be mobilized.
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We all know that nothing is permanent except change. It has become an inescapable fact of life.Change is inevitable in a progressive culture and meeting this challenge of change is the primary responsibility of management of an organization. It has been observed that an organization which lacks adaptability to change has no future.

Organizational change refers to modification or transformation of the organization’s structure, processes, goods, etc. In order to manage change effectively, knowledge of how to do it properly is required by every individual, group or organization. Work on organizational development started in the 1960s and since then it has been growing continuously (Bennis, 1963; Chin & Benne, 2000). Conventional, top-down, designed-then-implemented change takes too long and is too rigid to push through an organization. The plan becomes obsolete as soon as it’s made. People resist change that is imposed on them. They grow passive and demoralized as they wait to be told what to do. Change needs to be rapid, adaptable and proactive; paying attention to maximizing tomorrow’s opportunities rather than repeating yesterday’s mistakes. It needs to be engaging, motivating and inclusive. Change is constant and doesn’t occur occasionally. The future needs to be co-constructed by those involved.Hence Appreciative Inquiry is a change management approach, much needed for our changing times.

Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is an approach to organizational transformation that focuses on strengths and positivity rather than weaknesses and negativity. Appreciative Inquiry is about the coevolutionary exploration for the best in people, their organizations, and the pertinent world around them. AI involves, in a fundamental way, the art and practice of asking questions that reinforce a system’s capability to apprehend, predict, and enhance positive potential. (Cooperrider & Whitney, 2005). Appreciative inquiry is an organization development viewpoint and methodology that can augment the organization’s ability for ongoing adaptability.(Diana Whitney and Carol Schau, 1998)

Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results. – Willie Nelson

Appreciative Inquiry is an approach to achieving organizational change that differs substantially from what has gone before.Organizational change can no longer be separated from business as usual. How organizations ‘do’ change has an impact on the organization as a whole. It is a fallacy to consider that change can be forced, and that it can crush over sensitivities and good practice. People don’t forget being poorly treated. Appreciative Inquiry allows us to move towards change in a people-oriented, constructive and engaging way. When people feel good they are likely to be more creative, more generative, share information better, grow and learn better. They are likely to be more energised, bolder and braver about innovating, respond better to change, and be able to deal with more complex information.Appreciative Inquiry builds positive energy and helps people feel good in the hardest of circumstances. Thus it creates good conditions for change and also lays the foundation for a positive and adaptive organizational culture. It has been rightly quoted that –

We have reached “the end of problem solving” as a mode of inquiry capable of inspiring, mobilising and sustaining human system change, and the future of organisation development belongs to methods that affirm, compel and accelerate anticipatory learning involving larger and larger levels of collectivity. The new methods will be distinguished by the art and science of asking powerful, positive questions. (David Cooperrider)

Hence, Appreciative Inquiry is the need of the hour.

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