BUS 423 Module #4 Case & SLP

Module 4 – Case

Appreciative Inquiry

Case Assignment

For this assignment, first carefully review the required background materials. Make sure you remember the standard organizational development approaches covered in Module 1. Then make sure you understand the main principles of Appreciative Inquiry and how they compare to traditional organizational development approaches (action research, problem solving). It is also important to understand what is involved in each of the “4 Ds” – Discovery, Dream, Design, and Destiny.

When you are finished reviewing the background materials, go through each of the scenarios below and apply what you’ve read to these scenarios. For each scenario, cite at least one of the required readings to support your answer. You should cite at least three of the four required readings in your paper. Your paper should be 4–5  pages in length:

  1. A bank has recently been losing money. Many borrowers have not been able to repay their loans. It is not clear why this has suddenly been a problem. Management is not sure if this is due to poor motivation of their loan officers who may not be doing careful credit checks on borrowers, or if it is due to other factors. But regardless of the source of the problem, the bank needs to fix this problem soon or otherwise they will go out of business. Time is of the essence for the bank to fix this problem. Should this team use an Appreciative Inquiry approach, or a more traditional Organizational Development approach? Explain your reasoning with references to the required readings.
  2. A team of television screenplay writers have been working together for 10 years. For the first eight years their show had very high ratings, but over the last two years the ratings have started to slip and the network is thinking about canceling the show. The team used to get along with each other very well and agreed most of the time. But now the team has been fighting, blaming each other for the lower ratings, and having a lot of difficulty reaching agreement on what kind of stories or plots the show should have. Should this team use an Appreciative Inquiry approach, or a more traditional Organizational Development approach? Explain your reasoning with references to the required readings
  3. A new start-up social networking company has recently received a lot of money from investors. The top management team consists of young but experienced employees who have worked at Facebook, Twitter, and similar companies. They are all highly motivated and get along well with each other. But in spite of their motivation, experience, and money from investors, they all agree things are not working as well as they should. They have only been working together for a few months but feel that something is missing in how they work together. They believe their functioning as a team could be improved but are not sure what exactly needs to be done. Should this team use an Appreciative Inquiry approach or a more traditional organizational development approach? Explain your reasoning with references to the required readings.
  4. An organization hires an Appreciative Inquiry consultant to help the company get back on track and improve the performance of its product design team. The consultant starts by asking members of the team how they would like the team to perform and what their ideal vision of the team would be. The consultant collects all of this input and puts together a vision of how the team should perform and function. However, once this vision is presented to the team they are unable to come up with a plan to implement it. They all agree it would be great if they could achieve this vision, but they also are in consensus that this vision presented by the consultant is highly unrealistic. What do you think went wrong? What steps do you think the Appreciative Inquiry consultant could have taken to make the consulting process go better? Refer to the specific “4 Ds” of Appreciative Inquiry in your answer.

Module 4 – SLP

Appreciative Inquiry

For this assignment, think about a team you currently work with or have worked with in the past and how well this team has functioned. Think about both the positives and the negatives, and how the material from the background readings applies to what you’ve experienced. Then write a 2- to 3-page paper answering the following three questions below. Make sure to cite at least one of the required readings for each of your answers, and to cite at least two of the required readings in your paper:

  1. What are some of the key positive aspects of this team? Discuss some specific positives and include some stories of times when the team functioned especially well. Do you think these stories could work in an Appreciative Inquiry approach to come up with a plan to improve the performance of the team?
  2. How is the effectiveness or performance of this team usually measured? Could a traditional organizational development approach help identify problems in this team as well as find ways in which team performance could be improved?
  3. Overall, do you think an Appreciative Inquiry or a traditional organizational development would be better for this team? If your team was to hire a consultant, what type of approach would you want the consultant to take?

Appreciative Inquiry

Required Reading

To start off, take a look at this very short introduction to the basic concept of Appreciative Inquiry:

Hayes, J. (2009). Appreciative inquiry. Aarhus School of Business https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqHeujLHPkw

Now take a look at this slightly more detailed video. Pay close attention to the discussion of the “4D Model” towards the end of the video:

Kelm, J. (2011). What is Appreciative Inquiry? Appreciative Engagement. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwGNZ63hj5k

Now take a close look at these two short but important articles which provide direct comparisons between Appreciative Inquiry and traditional Organizational Development techniques as well as some of the main advantages and disadvantages of Appreciative Inquiry:

Venter, J. (2010). Appreciative inquiry. Accountancy SA, , 42-44. [ProQuest]

Zemke, R. (1999). Don’t fix that company! Training, 36(6), 26-33. [ProQuest]

Finally, read up in more detail with these more comprehensive chapters on Appreciative Inquiry. For the first of these readings, pay special attention to Table 1 and the comparison between Appreciative Inquiry and traditional Action Research (Deficit-Based) problem solving methods. For the second reading, pay special attention to the discussion of what is involved in each of the “4 D” steps:

Whitney, D. K., & Trosten-Bloom, A. (2010). Chapter 1: What is Appreciative Inquiry? The Power of Appreciative Inquiry: A Practical Guide to Positive Change. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers. [EBSCO eBook Business Collection]

Lewis, S., Cantore, S., & Passmore, J. (2011). Chapter 4: Appreciative Inquiry: How do you do it? Appreciative Inquiry for Change Management: Using AI to Facilitate Organizational Development. London: Kogan Page. [EBSCO eBook Business Collection]

Some of the other chapters in the books are optional to read but are worth looking at if you want to read up on Appreciative Inquiry in more detail. In addition, the optional readings below include an article about a real life practical use of this method and another book that includes some introductory chapters that may help you gain a better understanding of the concepts.

Optional Reading

Cooperrider, D. L., Whitney, D. K., & Stavros, J. M. (2008). Appreciative Inquiry Handbook: For Leaders of Change. Brunswick, OH: Berrett-Koehler Publishers. [EBSCO eBook Business Collection]

For a detailed case study of a real-life use of Appreciative Inquiry, see the following article:

Berrisford, S. (2005). Using Appreciative Inquiry to drive change at the BBC. Strategic Communication Management, 9(3), 22-25. [ProQuest]


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