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The Power of Appreciative Inquiry: A Practical Guide to Positive Change Paperback – Mar 8 2010

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers; Second Edition edition (March 8 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1605093289
  • ISBN-13: 978-1605093284
  • Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 2.3 x 22.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 454 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #117,632 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“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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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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Format: Paperback
I read this book one weekend, and felt inspired! I have been a student of people, groups, and organizations for 30+ years, and was extraordinarily uplifted by the philosophy and stories that the authors captured. Their clear writing summarizes the rigorous underpinnings of Appreciative Inquiry (AI) in psychology and sociology and in the maturing methodologies that have emerged in AI practice, yet the book is eminently accessible. And it does a good job of integrating theory and practice, so has widespread practical application for those who want to implement the appreciative inquiry process. Overall I felt fueled by the stories, and realized that opportunities to help create other positive stories exist everywhere: in my work with individuals, teams, and communities, and in health care and educational institutions as well as in businesses. Colleagues and I are reconnecting to our best selves, and creating conditions for other individuals, groups, organizations, and communities to do so also. Through making Appreciative Inquiry more transparent, the authors encourage us to be part of the contagion. I have heartily recommended the book to clients and colleagues. With deep appreciation, Bea Mah Holland
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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
The Power of Appreciative Inquiry is a business book that all managers should include in their library. The book introduces the concept of Appreciative Inquiry (AI), which I personally had never heard of until I read this book. Basically, AI is a method of organizational change and improvement that focuses on what is called the 4D Cycle: Discovery, Dream, Design, and Destiny. The authors, Diana Whitney and Amanda Trosten-Bloom, clearly explain the theories and provide real world examples for each of these four phases. Discovery is the task of "discovering" what works in the organization-not what doesn't work or what is broken. Dream is a step in which the organization's members are challenged to "dream" what their organization should look and feel like when it is the ideal state (whether this is high customer satisfaction, unmatched product quality, cost containment, or a host of other goals). Design is the phase to determine how to get from the Discovery to the Dream. Destiny is the final phase where activities from Design are implemented.
The authors have woven stories throughout the book that are interesting reads by themselves. I believe most people will follow the continuing saga of growth and organizational change at Hunter Douglas and relate to the issues they face. What is useful about the stories and experiences from Hunter Douglas is not so much an astounding new miracle approach. Rather, Whitney and Trosten-Bloom use this story to provide a practical discussion of how to involve people in the process of group organizational dynamics with AI as the methodology.
The bottom line is that the book is a must read for people who either are or want to be leaders.
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