Reviewing Appreciative Inquiry Through the Lens of Emotional Intelligence, Intrinsic Motivation, and Need Hierarchy

Reviewing Appreciative Inquiry Through the Lens of Emotional Intelligence, Intrinsic Motivation, and Need Hierarchy

Chandana Aditya (Women's College, Calcutta, India)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9675-2.ch006
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This chapter attempts to shed light on a relatively new concept of appreciative inquiry, which is a learning as well as research technique. The uniqueness of this concept is in its focus on positive and growth-oriented changes in the lives of individuals as well as in organizational culture. The chapter attempts to relate the role of appreciative inquiry with some of the well-researched psychological constructs like emotional intelligence, need hierarchy, and self-determination. Studies related to such constructs and AI techniques are mentioned to highlight its contribution in organizational transformation. Though the importance of this technique is primarily in the field of human resource development, it can be applied with equal emphasis in promoting work culture and overall organizational climate.
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In the present world, where the socioeconomic system is changing rapidly, organizations are also evolving to fulfil the demands of the moment. Productions and turnovers of any industry are not considered as a mechanical process for a long time. Role of humans involved in the process along with their interaction get the primary importance while considering the success of any organization. Recent Research gradually identifies the ultimate truth that it is not possible to create and sustain success in economy by ignoring human resources. Perspectives of individuals are gaining importance. Phenomenological experiences and subjective reality are considered as the building blocks of institutional policies and planning to fulfil desired target.

There are various angles which could contribute to the growth of any organization. Most of them traditionally were limited to the quantitative measurement of human behaviour. In this context, Appreciative inquiry is a novel approach, which is more qualitative in nature which helps to search for the potentials and to build up a constructive base for further growth.

It is considered as a problem solving approach, which is based on growth perspective instead of deficit perspective. In this sense, this is not only a technique, but a whole system of philosophy which can change the vision of an organization. Again it may be considered as a learning pedagogy which is useful for exploring an individual’s potential as well as providing training, gaining insight for self enhancement.

In 1987, Cooperrider and Srivastva launched the concept of appreciative inquiry, as a response to the action research developed by Lewin in the 1940s. Appreciative inquiry aimed to be an instrument for social change, chiefly for organizational change.

From the point of view of the authors, limitation of action research is in focusing on the problem, which leads to a shortage of innovative potential. They considered that this focus on the problem puts a restraint on imagination and visions of institutional leaders and reduces the possibility of creating new theories. The vision of appreciative inquiry discards the problem-focused approach. Rather it is focused on, taking into account what goes well in an organization, its successes, as identified by its members. Appreciative inquiry as a technique of investigation which delve into psychological processes of the participants and tries to identify those traits, values and other cognitive and affective factors which will lead to growth and positive changes of individuals as well as organizations. Appreciative inquiry can generate new knowledge; help create a collectively desired vision of the future, as well as assist in choosing the actions that can result in the desired future (Cooperrider and Srivastva, 1994, p. 207).

Cooperrider and Srivastva (1987) built the appreciative approach based on Kenneth Gergen’s constructionism (1985; 1994); Gergen sees reality as a social construction and a permanent reconstruction on the interactions between individuals (Gergen, 1999).


Appreciative Inquiry Explained

“At its heart, AI is about the search for the best in people, their organizations, and the strengths-filled, opportunity-rich world around them. AI is not so much a shift in the methods and models of organizational change, but AI is a fundamental shift in the overall perspective taken throughout the entire change process to ‘see’ the wholeness of the human system and to “inquire” into that system’s strengths, possibilities, and successes ” (Stavros, Godwin and Cooperrider, 2015). According to Cooperrider and Whitney (1999) the major principles of Appreciative Inquiry are: Constructionist, Simultaneity, Poetic, Anticipatory and Positive. The gist of those principles is that when the management in an organization will start taking a more subjective perspective on what can be changed in a positive direction. The means of taking that perspective is to ask questions in a conversational manner, in a social context. It is believed that as soon as the questions will be asked it will produce change. The emphasis will be on language and more the positive and hopeful communication will be, more the changes will be positive and growth oriented.

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