Appreciative Inquiry for Change Management

Using AI to facilitate organisation development
Authors: Sarah Lewis, Jonathan Passmore and Stefan Cantore
From: Kogan Page
Price: £29.99
ISBN: 9780749450717
Contact:
www.kogan-page.co.uk

Appreciative inquiry (AI) has made huge inroads into consultancy and coaching work since the millennium. It is based around conversational practice and is a particular approach to asking questions, building relationships and increasing an organisation’s capacity for collaboration and change.

The authors make the valid comparison at the beginning of the book between organisations as machines and organisations as living human systems. AI works better in the latter.

This book sets out the foundations of appreciative inquiry, both in terms of its history, and where it can make a difference. For example, there is a role for AI, which is a tool for bringing diverse people together, in meeting global challenges.

It then gives plenty of advice and examples of how to make AI work, before moving on to case studies of large organisations, such as Nokia, which used AI to revitalise corporate values.

I was particularly impressed by the honesty of this book. It confronts some of the emerging concerns among AI fans about the appearance of what they call a “totalitarian monologue” – best described as a single all-encompassing view coming from the top. This is said to be overpowering the healthy perspective that organisations are “possibilities to be realised”, and replacing it with the negative, and non-AI view that organisations are “problems to be solved”.

This challenging book is a welcome insight into how to build an organisation around what works, rather than trying to fix what doesn’t.

Useful? 4 stars (out of 5)
Well-written? 5 stars
Relevance? 4 stars

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