Appreciative Intelligence and Generativity: A Case Study of Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Facility Cleanup

Organizational Generativity: The Appreciative Inquiry Summit and a Scholarship of Transformation

ISBN: 9781848554887, eISBN: 978-1-78190-330-8

ISSN: 1475-9152

Publication date: 5 December 2013

Abstract

This chapter provides an in-depth analysis of the cleanup and closing of the nuclear weapons facility at Rocky Flats (RF), Colorado, United States, which was completed 60 years ahead of schedule and $30 billion under budget. We demonstrate how the events leading to the successful completion of the project was an instance of generativity made possible by the Appreciative Intelligence of the project leaders and participants. At the end of the Cold War, production at RF was terminated and experts considered cleaning up of the dangerous facility technically impossible, risky, and impractical. Yet, working in collaboration with contractors, local officials, and community leaders, the RF team achieved extraordinary results. After the unprecedented cleanup, 4,000 acres were transferred to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and became a national wildlife refuge. Generativity is an approach to life that directs our actions toward positive outcomes. For generativity to happen, stakeholders in the RF project had to care about the environment around them for innovative solutions to emerge. Instead of stagnation or blind acceptance of circumstances, they chose to reframe and find new ways to perceive situations facing them. This case study shows that individuals with high Appreciative Intelligent acknowledge present circumstances, choose to reframe, see possibilities for the future, and take the necessary actions to achieve them. They also expand their Appreciative Intelligence beyond their personal lives. At RF, despite the imminent closing of the plant, stakeholders generated socially responsible solutions and transformed a public liability into a community asset.

Citation

Thatchenkery, T. and Firbida, I. (2013), "Appreciative Intelligence and Generativity: A Case Study of Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Facility Cleanup", Organizational Generativity: The Appreciative Inquiry Summit and a Scholarship of Transformation (Advances in Appreciative Inquiry, Vol. 4), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 409-432. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1475-9152(2013)0000004017

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013 Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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