By contrast, Appreciative Inquiry is more of a sufficiency model, focusing on what the organization is doing satisfactorily. Appreciative Inquiry uses positive dialogue as a means of uncovering stories of organizational successes. The process then builds upon those stories to promote future success. The model was developed in response to action research, which concentrates on finding organizational problems in need of solutions, and then proposing the development of an action plan to correct the problems that are identified.
Appreciative Inquiry posits that people construct reality through their social interactions, as opposed to the positivist paradigm that states social knowledge is the result of objective observation. The model is based on the premise that there is something already present in every organization that can be leveraged to help achieve its goals.
Critics of Appreciative Inquiry point out that the process is too focused on the positive, often at the expense of the organization's shortcomings Perhaps most telling of all, Rogers and Fraser argue that Appreciative Inquiry is ill suited to identifying underlying organizational problems, which can be ignored by focusing solely on building organizational strengths. Exhibit 2 shows the Appreciative Inquiry process.
The Strategic Analysis Model
Today's highly competitive international business environment requires that organizational strategies must be deliberate and proactive. Anderson argues that such strategies “must be perceived as a proactive process which anticipates trends and future changes and which prepares people to meet those needs can be identified reactively by responding to a problem, or proactively by identifying current and future needs before they develop into problems. Therefore, while needs assessment is a critical process to determine the cause of a problem before making a decision, it is by definition a reactive process.
The Strategic Analysis Model is a proactive continuous improvement model that combines elements of needs assessment with Appreciative Inquiry. By combining needs assessment models and Appreciative Inquiry, the Strategic Analysis model takes advantage of the positive aspects of each model and redresses shortcomings of each. In so doing, the organization can become more anticipatory, resulting in a more proactive approach to continuous process improvement. Continuous improvement entails constant enhancement of customer satisfaction, facilitated by increasing organizational efficiency and effectiveness. Strategic Analysis is a diagnostic tool that identifies those aspects of organizational behaviour most in need of continuous improvement.
In uncertain environments, Strategic Analysis is able to provide organizations with a clear framework without getting lost in the chaos of change. This balancing act of utilizing past experiences, solving immediate problems, and preparing for the future by detecting patterns or threats requires the ability to manage strategic change. Leaders committed to considering a wide variety of alternative strategies for changes, including those that are unconventional, have improved their chances for success. It is therefore important to recognize that the incorporation of new technology is just a single component of an overall strategy in addressing continuous improvement.
every organization requires a valid and reliable means of evaluating the extent to which it is meeting its specified goals. The evaluation must be appropriate to the context in which it is conducted. Because its focus is on positive organizational outcomes. Appreciative Evaluation was selected as the most appropriate tool for evaluating the Strategic Analysis process and was included at each phase.
Closely related to Appreciative Inquiry, described earlier. Appreciative Evaluation identifies what is best about an...