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The Gift of New Eyes: Personal Reflections after 30 Years of Appreciative Inquiry in Organizational LifeAppreciative Inquiry in Organizational Life

Research in Organizational Change and Development

ISBN: 978-1-78714-436-1, eISBN: 978-1-78714-435-4

ISSN: 0897-3016

Publication date: 28 June 2017

Abstract

It’s been thirty years since the original articulation of “Appreciative Inquiry in Organizational Life” was written in collaboration with my remarkable mentor Suresh Srivastva (Cooperrider & Srivastva, 1987). That article – first published in Research in Organization Development and Change – generated more experimentation in the field, more academic excitement, and more innovation than anything we had ever written. As the passage of time has enabled me to look more closely at what was written, I feel both a deep satisfaction with the seed vision and scholarly logic offered for Appreciative Inquiry, as well as well as the enormous impact and continuing reverberation. Following the tradition of authors such as Carl Rogers who have re-issued their favorite works but have also added brief reflections on key points of emphasis, clarification, or editorial commentary I am presenting the article by David Cooperrider (myself) and the late Suresh Srivastva in its entirety, but also with new horizon insights. In particular I write with excitement and anticipation of a new OD – what my colleagues and I are calling the next “IPOD” that is, innovation-inspired positive OD that brings AI’s gift of new eyes together in common cause with several other movements in the human sciences: the strengths revolution in management; the positive pscyhology and positive organizational scholarship movements; the design thinking explosion; and the biomimicry field which is all about an appreciative eye toward billions of years of nature’s wisdom and innovation inspired by life.

This article presents a conceptual refigurationy of action-research based on a “sociorationalist” view of science. The position that is developed can be summarized as follows: For action-research to reach its potential as a vehicle for social innovation it needs to begin advancing theoretical knowledge of consequence; that good theory may be one of the best means human beings have for affecting change in a postindustrial world; that the discipline’s steadfast commitment to a problem solving view of the world acts as a primary constraint on its imagination and contribution to knowledge; that appreciative inquiry represents a viable complement to conventional forms of action-research; and finally, that through our assumptions and choice of method we largely create the world we later discover.

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Citation

Cooperrider, D., Cooperrider, D. and Srivastva, S. (2017), "The Gift of New Eyes: Personal Reflections after 30 Years of Appreciative Inquiry in Organizational LifeAppreciative Inquiry in Organizational Life ", Research in Organizational Change and Development (Research in Organizational Change and Development, Vol. 25), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 81-142. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0897-301620170000025003

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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