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Organisational development, appreciative inquiry and the development of Psychologically Informed Environments (PIEs). Part I: a positive psychology approach

Suzanne Quinney (Co Director, based at Appreciating People, Liverpool, UK)
Leo Richardson (Specialist Support Worker, based at Riverside ECHG, London, UK)

Housing, Care and Support

ISSN: 1460-8790

Article publication date: 10 June 2014

Abstract

Purpose

Appreciative Inquiry (AI) has its roots in the world of Organisational Development (OD), however, as a strength-based approach which is intrinsically creative and generative, it has been found to work well in many other fields. The purpose of this paper, Part 1 of 2, is to provide an introduction to AI and suggests its potential in homeless work. Part 2 reports a pilot study of implementation and evaluation.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a conceptual paper suggesting a new approach to the development of a Psychologically Informed Environment (PIE). The background of the approach (AI) is given, the pilot project described, and the way it contributes to a PIE is discussed. The beneficial and practical link with Positive Psychology is also explored. Part 2 will describe the outcomes of the implementation of AI in pilot at a homelessness hostel in Westminster.

Findings

AI has its roots in the world of OD, however, it has been found to work well in many other fields. The paper highlights some of the aspects of AI and Positive Psychology which could be meaningful to hostel residents, and give it robustness and psychological sophistication when used by staff and residents. The paper also considers the benefits of using AI with staff as a tool for organisational learning, there by making it an ideal approach for hostels which want to become a PIE.

Originality/value

AI is well-established as an OD process and less well known as a personal development approach and has not previously been articulated as a tool for working with hostel residents or for developing PIEs. The openness of PIEs to alternative psychological approaches is indicated. AI is a strength-based approach, and a well-structured alternative to some of the problem-based psychological approaches that have been used. In addition, AI supports defining features of a PIE such as reflective awareness.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to acknowledge Steve Davies at King George's Hostel and Westminster City Council for helping put the idea into practice.

Citation

Quinney, S. and Richardson, L. (2014), "Organisational development, appreciative inquiry and the development of Psychologically Informed Environments (PIEs). Part I: a positive psychology approach", Housing, Care and Support, Vol. 17 No. 2, pp. 95-102. https://doi.org/10.1108/HCS-03-2014-0003

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited