Appreciative Inquiry: A Positive Approach to Building Cooperative Capacity
by Frank J. Barrett and Ronald E. Fry
Taos Institute Publications, December 2005
Price: $19.95 US plus shipping and handling
Paperback, 128 pages
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The purpose of this book is to provide a concise introduction to and overview of the growing discipline and practice of Appreciative Inquiry (AI). While the literature on AI is expanding rapidly with texts, handbooks, and case studies, the authors, Drs. Barrett and Fry feel there is a strong call for a “quick read” that will assist curious change agents or leaders in determining if they are interested in learning more about this rapidly expanding field of theory and practice. If you are intrigued by the prospect of mobilizing rapid, positive change with multiple stakeholders in a human system that is important to you, this book is for you.
The AI approach is a way of being…as a leader, a parent, a colleague, a partner, a change agent, a team leader, a project manager, a teacher, employer or employee. It is an exciting and energizing way to approach individual, team, organization, community, and global renewal and transformation. The authors have written this book just as they talk and they share experiences from their work with AI, as if you were in their workshops, seminars or systems where they have been privileged to practice this compelling approach to change. Frank and Ron are passionate and principled about this approach to organizational development and transformation and wish for those of you who are truly curious to have this as a first source to refer to in your discovery and learning journey.
“Based on almost twenty years of field research in organizations like the United States Navy, Roadway Express and Nokia as well as years of scholarly commitment to social constructionist approaches to human science inquiry, the authors of this book finally put into print a pragmatic, inspiring, and simple account of an approach to strengh-based change that has elevated the capacity of thousands of businesses, change leaders, and teams to realize their enormous potentials. It’s the kind of focus book that people will want to hand out at the front end of a major organization-wide change initiative. And it is a perfect companion piece for workshops, foundation courses on AI, and leadership programs.
This is a Taos Institute Focus Book that is both substantive and accessible in a ‘how to’ way with its stories from the field, practical tips, and its challenges to long-accepted myths about change. In my view, this is a special volume that will at once captivate, guide and reassure, and enlighten, as it dramatically transforms the way you lead change in your organizations, your family or community, and your future.”
— David Cooperrider
Chair and Professor, Weatherhead School of Management
Case Western Reserve University
(taken from the Foreword of AI: A Positive Approach to Building Cooperative Capacity)
“Barrett and Fry have written an enlightening (and important) book about an important topic. As they have outlined in this book, we have used this model at the EPA with two major summits, dozens of retreats, planning efforts, and streamlining efforts. Our research and development community has been able to create breakthroughs in collaboration. If managers and executives take this book seriously, I think they will be surprised by the discoveries, the creative outcomes, the hope it will generate for future generations.”
— Mary McCarthy-O’Reilly
Organization Develpment Manager
Office of Research and Development
US Environmental Protection Agency
“In today’s business environment, there is a rist of the negative experience overtaking our judgement. Those organizations that fall to the temptation are rarely capable of igniting any lasting impact. Inviting the whole system to participate and build on our strenghts and positive successes stands a high chance of pushing the organization into the realm of greatness. The Appreciative Inquiry approach described here by Barrett and Fry is one of the most powerful approaches I have found that can build a shared organizational strategy and capacity for effective change.”
— Lars Gustavsson
World Vision International
Vice President Humanitarian and Emergency Affairs
“This book by Barrett and Fry is an excellent introduction to Appreciative Inquiry. The Appreciative Inquiry process that Barrett and Fry facilitated was the spring-board for successfully launching the Navy’s Information Professional Community.”
— Vice Admiral Richard Mayo, US Navy (ret)