BBA 3626 Unit I Research Paper
Columbia Southern University
Every organization seeks to find the best people with the strengths necessary to fill positions and perform specific roles within this opportunity rich world. Appreciative inquiry is an approach used to bring about collaborative and strength based changed in organizations all over the world in the name of facilitating positive change within human systems. As every project creates a unique and specific product, service, or result in the name of satisfying stakeholders desires, project success entails an understanding of the requirements set forth by stakeholders, a clear understanding of project expectations, and agreement upon the scope of the project. With this is mind, appreciative inquiry can be a helpful tool in allowing for the engagement necessary for navigating through these various complexities (Kloppenborg, 2015).
What is appreciative inquiry (AI)?
“Appreciative inquiry is a theory and practice for approaching change from a holistic framework” (Asif & Fazili, 2018, p. 3). This change is based upon the belief that human systems are made and imagined by those who live and work within them. Additionally, the belief is that appreciative inquiry leads these systems in such a way that they move towards generative and creative images that reside within their values, visions, achievements, and best practices (Asif & Fazili, 2018). According to Kloppenborg (2015, p. 23), in principle, appreciative inquiry or AI, “is a positive philosophy for change wherein whole systems convene to inquire for change.” AI operates within the belief that human systems tend to move in the direction of their collective vision of the future and that change is based upon deliberate and positive examination into what has worked best in the past. Generally, the process of AI works through four separate phases, which are discovery, dream, design, and delivery (Kloppenborg, 2015).
The discovery phase of AI is based upon what has been. Discovery investigates and uncovers the potential and positive capacity of the group at hand. During this time, members of the group share stories to elaborate on strengths, assets, peak experiences, and successes as a means of establishing a deeper understanding of what made their success possible (Kloppenborg, 2015). As AI seeks to discover each individual’s exceptionality in their individual gifts, strengths and qualities, this phase allows AI to actively search for and recognize people for their specialties, essential contributions, and for their achievements (Asif & Fazili, 2018).
The dreaming phase of AI facilitates the idea of what could be. After reflecting on individual moments of excellence and achievements, dreaming fosters a time for members of the group to imagine the possibilities of what could be should their moments of excellence become the norm, or standard. This phase allows the group to generate hope and build positive energy as participants are able to dream of perfect conditions that lead to an ideal future and that ultimately leads to dreaming of a perfect and desirable state for the stakeholders (Kloppenborg, 2015).
The third phase of designing, considers what should be. Designing establishes the requirements, standards, and principles necessary to enable the group to realize their dream. Within this phase, the group is encouraged to think big and stretch their imaginations in an effort to move the system from where it is currently, to where they dream of it being. Designing should be carried out in such a way that it is considered within ideal conditions with no constraints, meaning, if unlimited resources were available within a project, what would the project look like (Kloppenborg, 2015)?
The final phase is delivery. Delivery constitutes what will be and is the time in which stakeholders decide what aspects they will committing themselves and their resources to. During this phase, the group considers the different subsystems required in order to take the dream from thought and bring it into existence. Additionally, within this phase, the strategies developed in earlier phases are put into practice and space in created to allow for ideas to grow and be expanded upon. Members are encouraged to take action and to act upon their ideas (Kloppenborg, 2015).
What are the implications of AI on defining project scope?
According to Kloppenborg (2015, p. 88), project scope is the “work that must be performed to deliver a product, service, or result” with the specified features and functions set forth by the stakeholders. The success of a project partly depends on the identification of key stakeholders and understanding their specific wants and needs within the project while also keeping them engaged throughout the projects entirety. This information and engagement defines the scope of the project as a whole. The collaborative nature of AI allows for the critical early involvement of stakeholders in order to set forth clear goals and boundaries within the project scope. Continuous involvement by stakeholders is key as many projects are planned in an environment of uncertainty, which can make garnering specific answers to questions more difficult. AI facilitates ongoing involvement by stakeholders ensuring that they are pleased and get what they want out of the project. (Kloppenborg, 2015).
While projects may be temporary and every project is unique with shifting boundaries over the span of the project, appreciative inquiry is a great tool that allows for the engagement of stakeholders over the entirety of the project and ensures their satisfaction. Appreciative inquiry recognizes the desire for positive and strength based change and facilitates that environment and processes necessary to enable this change through its four phases of discovery, dreaming, designing, and delivering.
Asif Hamid Charag, & Fazili, A. (2018). Defining Appreciative Inquiry: A Review of Research. Journal of General Management Research, 5(1), 1–9. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com.libraryresources.columbiasouthern.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=bsu&AN=133504813&site=eds-live&scope=site
Kloppenborg, T.J. (2015). Contemporary project management (3rd ed.). Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.
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