Appreciative Inquiry

by Andy Smith

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Other topics

Employee Engagement

One of the strengths of Appreciative Inquiry is that it engages employees. You will find more ideas for employee engagement here.

Organisation Development

This helps to put AI in context with other OD methods. Some of the large group interventions described in this section can usefully be combined with AI.


The thin book of Appreciative Inquiry (2nd edition)

Sue Annis Hammond, published by The Thin Book Publishing Co (US), 1998, 63 pages

This is the best introductory book on AI: light on theory, strong on examples and practical suggestions, and very readable.

Appreciative Inquiry handbook (2nd edition)

David L Cooperrider, Diana Whitney and Jacqueline M Stavros, published by Crown Custom Publishing, Inc. (US), 2008, 453 pages

The most comprehensive and heavyweight book on AI, it includes theoretical roots, case studies and a selection of classic articles.

Appreciative Inquiry: change at the speed of imagination

Jane Magruder Watkins and Bernard J Mohr, published by Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer (US), 241 pages

This covers similar ground to the Appreciative Inquiry Handbook (including case studies) at slightly more manageable length. It compares the standard 4D model of Appreciative Inquiry with others (such as the ‘4Is’ model), and analyses them in terms of five generic or core processes.

Appreciative team building

Diana Whitney, Amanda Trosten Bloom, Jay Cherney and Ron Fry, published by iUniverse (US), 2004, 108 pages

This short book (98 pages) provides a strong starting point if you want to build a more positive and productive culture in your team.

The heart of the book is a set of 48 multi-part ‘positive questions’, around such subject areas as ‘aligning purpose and goals’ and ‘promoting leadership’. You could use any question to interview team members individually, have the team explore a question as a group, or have team members pair up and interview each other.

The other sections of the book cover ten ways you could use the questions, for applications ranging from ‘selecting team members’ to ‘energising team meetings’, plus a step-by-step guide for conducting a self-managed appreciative inquiry, and a template for building your own appreciative interview guide.

Locating the energy for change: an introduction to Appreciative Inquiry

Charles Elliott, published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (Canada), 1999, 288 pages

Available as a free internet download

This book covers some theoretical roots of AI and is unique in having a section on ‘The unconscious and AI’ (from a Freudian perspective), and detailed case histories from the private healthcare and economic development sectors, which reveal the thought processes (including doubts and challenges) of the AI practitioner.


The Appreciative Inquiry Commons

A worldwide portal hosted by the Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management, this is the primary repository of case studies, articles, videos and slide presentations devoted to Appreciative Inquiry.


You can also contact the author directly: Andy Smith