The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the innovative application of an Appreciative Inquiry (AI) approach for the design and implementation of organizational stress management interventions, alongside a case study of the successful design and implementation of the approach. By utilizing the AI methodology to develop a “local stress theory” for the participating organization, the authors propose a model which can be utilized in other similar organizations.
Stage 1: 35 participants completed up to ten daily logs by answering four positively framed questions regarding their working day. Stage 2: semi-structured interviews (n=13). The interview schedule was designed to further elaborate log findings, and begin looking into feasible organizational changes for improvement of stress. Stage 3: two focus groups (Stage 3, total 13 employees) verified interventions from logs and interviews and discuss how these can be implemented.
The log phase identified two key themes for improvement: managerial/organizational support and communication. From these, interviews and focus groups led to workable proposals for simple but likely effective changes. The authors reported findings to management, emphasizing organizational change implementation, and these were subsequently implemented.
The study demonstrated the effectiveness of AI to identify and implement relatively simple but meaningful changes. The AI cycle was completed but allocating lengthy follow-up time for evaluation of outcomes was not possible, although initial responses were favorable. There are also issues of generalizability of the findings.
This is the among first studies to utilize an AI approach for the design of stress management interventions.
Ravalier, J., McVicar, A. and Munn-Giddings, C. (2019), "Appreciative Inquiry for stress management", Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management, Vol. 14 No. 3, pp. 260-279. https://doi.org/10.1108/QROM-05-2017-1525Download as .RIS
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