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Why is it suddenly so easy to change?

Johan Lilja (Department of Quality Technology and Management, Mid Sweden University, Östersund, Sweden)
Daniel Richardsson (, Östersund, Sweden)

International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences

ISSN: 1756-669X

Article publication date: 15 June 2015




The purpose of this paper is to contribute with knowledge concerning how to drive, generate and energize change and development in social systems. A potential key to meet this challenge is the strength-based change management approach called appreciative inquiry (AI). A central component of AI is the “AI interview”, which has evolved into a distinct activity that enables the past and the future to be used as a generative source for on-going learning about strengths, opportunities, aspirations and results. The AI interview has in previous studies shown an often surprisingly high ability to generate development and change in social systems. However, the understanding of the generative “mystery” of the AI interview, focusing on the value experienced by both the people conducting the interview and those being interviewed, is still in need of further exploration. Furthermore, the evident generativity of the AI interview has not yet been integrated to any large extent into quality management. The purpose of this paper is to change that.


The researchers have studied the customer experience of conducting an AI interview based on feedback from 97 AI students at Mid Sweden University.


Among the results, eight categories of value are identified.


The paper contributes with new knowledge concerning the values experienced during participation in an AI interview. The paper also highlights ideas on how the generativity of the AI interview could be increasingly integrated into quality management.



The authors want to thank Gervase R. Bushe, Amanda Trosten-Bloom, Diana Whitney and Ron Fry for the generosity, quick input, openness and willingness when contributing with thoughts, relevant publications and ideas during the writing of this paper.


Lilja, J. and Richardsson, D. (2015), "Why is it suddenly so easy to change?", International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences, Vol. 7 No. 2/3, pp. 334-348.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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