Rare Admiration: Appreciative Inquiry’s Contribution and Impact on Obama and Romney

Obama and RomneyThis blog post is a tiny excerpt from our next book, one that I am currently working on together with colleague and co-author Lindsey Godwin. In recent years, humbling to me, many people such as Parashu Ram Timalisna, Emi Makino, and Philip Merry and others have asked for more detail on the essence of my original PhD thesis on Appreciative Inquiry or “AI”—even asking if they could get their hands on a full copy–and this blog post shares ideas from that generative moment of theory building. It happened at the world renowned Cleveland Clinic. I was invited and placed onto their world-class stage by my dissertation chair and remarkable mentor Suresh Srivastva.

The study was one of those cherished high point moments in a career, the kind of thing every young scholar dreams about. The research demonstrated a Heisenberg “observer effect” on steroids– how just the mere act of inquiry can change the world. Radically reversing the deficit-problem analytic methods of the day, and experimenting with an appreciative eye focusing entirely on “what gives life” not only served to catalyze a huge momentum but it sparked an era of advance. The organization—over the next twelve years– entered an unprecedented phase of growth under the leadership of Dr. Bill Kiser. Frank Barrett and Ron Fry, in a book several decades later, reflected back upon that first articulation of the theory of AI and concluded that the contribution of our first article on appreciative inquiry was at “a magnitude perhaps not seen since that of Kurt Lewin’s classic article outlining action research.” In a similar fashion, Jane Watkins and Bernard Mohr in another volume celebrated the birth of “a paradigm shift” at the Cleveland Clinic. They wrote: “The momentum set the stage for David Cooperrider’s seminal dissertation, the first, and as yet, one of the best articulations of the theory and practice of Appreciative Inquiry.”

That dissertation was defended on August 19th, 1985—almost thirty years ago. But curiously, every month for the last several months, students and others have asked me about that early writing. The work, as I glance back at it now, was wonderfully idealistic but not naive. Each sentence was carefully crafted. It was academically rich and well documented. It was passionte at every turn, but the logic too was solid. And the seed vision continues, in my view, to be enormously relevant as vast opportunities for appreciative inquiry are emerging everywhere. With amazing colleagues and co-developers such as Frank Barrett and Ron Fry, and then later John Carter, Diana Whitney, Jane Watkins, Jim Ludema, Gervase Bushe, Tojo Thatchenkery and many others, something of a positive revolution in change was unleashed.  Indeed with AI’s contribution to the strengths revolution in management and the emergence of positive psychology, there have been millions of people, organizations, and researchers, involved in advancing the new tools, concepts, and practices for doing appreciative inquiry and for bringing AI methodologies into organizations all over the world. Today AI’s approach to life-centric and strengths-based, instead of problematizing change, is succeeding many of the traditional change management models in business and society. Appreciative inquiry, as noted recently by Marcus Buckingham, Robert Quinn, Kim Cameron and Jane Dutton, and others is being practiced everywhere: the corporate world, the world of public service, of economics, of education, of faith, of philanthropy—it is affecting them all. Writes Ken Gergen: “The growth and application of Appreciative Inquiry over the past two decades has been nothing short of phenomenal. It is arguably the most powerful process of positive organizational change ever devised.”

Obviously its a thrill. There is, as Alfred North Whitehead so well-articulated, an “adventure in ideas.”

This blog posting shares one of the key ideas involved. It stresses the second word in the delightfully entangled “Appreciative” and “Inquiry” combination.

We call it the exponential inquiry effect.

For those of you wanting more or something deeper than this blog allows (perhaps graduate students or people who like to delve into early ideas to see how they grow and expand over time) I’m pleased to say that the publisher has generously made a PDF of the early dissertation available for educational purposes. For some it may be a curiosity or relic. For others it might be a way to create a wide-angle, longer-term view of an idea whose time has come. My hope is that it can inform or even inspire a next generation of doctoral students in organizational behavior, leadership studies, social construction, positive psychology and business. It was a bold piece of work inspired by Kenneth Gergen’s famous call for generative theory. I was reaching beyond my competence, certainly, but the topic was also calling out, as if it had a life of its own. So I was intrigued and had to follow where the data, the logic, and the topic itself wanted to go. The dissertation was titled: “Appreciative Inquiry: Toward a Methodology for Understanding and Enhancing Organizational Innovation”—and it is available for free download; simply jump to the end of this blog.

However…if you wish to find out exactly what Obama and Romney even remotely have to do with this story, first before the download, read on!

(An excerpt draft only from Cooperrider and Godwin’s next book)
Please do not quote without permission or until the final draft is written.

Chapter Two
The Exponential Inquiry Effect

Inquiry-and-change. It’s a near ubiquitous phenomenon in human systems. We gather data; we feed it back to a person or a larger human system, and “Walla.”

Change happens. It seems like magic.

In the earliest days of OD the famous study documenting the Hawthorne Effect was viewed as a breakthrough. It was later celebrated as the scientific cornerstone of the human relations movement. Simply asking questions to workers and providing even a modest amount of attention raised performance levels observably, significantly, and sometimes dramatically. At nearly the same time Kurt Lewin noticed the self-correcting power of “feedback” and borrowed concepts from the mathematician Norbert Wiener who analyzed how feedback loops operate in machinery and electronics. Lewin extended the ideas and pioneered the human factor application showing how those principles might be broadened to human systems and human relations. Soon he introduced the action-research cycle of organizational data collection and feedback and action- planning—as an integrated inseparable whole– demonstrating the power of information feedback as a catalyst for collaborative dialogue and planned change.

Just as popularly we’ve all know of the Prius effect based on the premise of the feedback loop: provide people with information about their actions in real time and then give them a chance to change those actions, in essence helping them advance toward better behaviors though the mere surfacing of attention, information, or data. Today, in a similar fashion, drivers speeding through school zones are met not with speeding tickets (something clearly punitive) and not with any new threat, but with a radar sensor attached to a huge digital readout announcing “Your Speed.” Why? Because even though the driver has their own speedometer, simply seeing “Your Speed” changes driving habits more than a police officer with a radar gun or even one that is handing out tickets and fines. As one analyst put it: “Despite their redundancy, despite their lack of repercussions, the signs have accomplished what seemed impossible: They get us to let up on the gas.” But why?

That realities shift as we put our attention on something—asking questions, gathering information, and paying attention to someone—is so commonplace by now that we forget that it might just be the most important first principle for a field devoted to human systems development and change. For some this simultaneity between inquiry and change is regarded as an incidental phenomenon. It actually has a name. Its been dubbed “the mere measurement effect.” However for the new horizons in OD this characterization could not be more mistaken or misleading. There is nothing minor about it.

Here’s the provocative point to be examined: we live in worlds that our inquiries create; and seizing on the deeper significance of this notion is what this chapter is all about.

In this chapter we explore how inquiry in human systems is not a casual occasion or mere experiential blip, but is something so enormously consequential and embedded that we call it the exponential inquiry effect. As we shall unpack and explore, in the new iPod the “I” might well stand not only for “innovation inspired” but also for “inquiry inspired.”  Inquiry inspired change is based on one major idea, simple and straightforward: that we are profoundly shaped what we study—human systems move in the direction of what they ask questions about most frequently, vigorously and rigorously. Instead of being woven at random, like an afterthought in a larger fabric, inquiry shall become the celebrated centerpiece in a theory of positive change.

For some this is a big claim, especially the idea of a snowballing effect from even a tiny question. It is, as we will see, certainly a big challenge for our conventional assumptions about the nature of knowledge. As is typically understood good science, for example, is objective and detached and the scientist is an impartial bystander whose methods should not influence the events he or she hopes to understand. But this view is unnecessarily limiting, and over many years has served to restrain us from fashioning a humanly significant science, unique in its own terms, and capable of helping life become all that it can be. Imagine an encyclopedia of 1,000s of ingeniously crafted questions to help organizations and people see every asset or hidden opportunity in the worlds around them as well as 100s of “how might we?” questions to help human systems imagine and design beyond perceptual blinders of our culture. Remember Einstein’s imaginative question. It changed our world. But it also changed Einstein’s own life from the moment it was posed in his late teen years. Questions are like that, they shape everything we discover and do, and this one was classic: “What would the universe look like if I were riding on the end of a light beam, moving at the speed of light?”

The exponential inquiry effect, in the new iPod, is not to be downplayed as a mere aftereffect but is emerging as an amazing resource and opportunity, challenging many fields including normal science, and is opening new horizons at every turn. It provides the fertile grounds for fashioning a generative human science that radically flips the OD’s core action-research model. Just reverse the words as your own first step: think research-action instead of action-research. Think inquiry as intervention, better yet, co-inquiry and collaborative change not as separate moments but utterly merged and simultaneous. Don’t think of an applied behavioral science as simply a re-treading yesterday’s knowledge-base; think of a next stage, a possible successor project; imagine the possibility of a creative behavioral science that expands and vitally elevates role of discovery and builds the spaces for co-innovation at every step. It’s about appreciating the unity of knowing and undergoing as a wonderful entanglement. We ourselves undergo change each time we inquire. The new OD seeks to open wide the vast horizons implied: could it be that we live in worlds that our questions create?

In Letters to a Young Poet, Rilke wrote:

Be patient…try to love the questions themselves…
Live the questions now.
Perhaps you will then gradually without noticing it,
Live along some distant day in into the answers.

How then, more exactly, could it be that we live in worlds that our questions create? Let’s start by considering two stories. The answers might surprise.

Tale of Two Organizational Inquiries

In the early 1960s a British respected professor of sociology by the name of Goldthorpe was brought in from a nearby university to make a study of the Vauxhall automobile workers in Luton, England. At the time, management at the factory was worried because workers in other organizations throughout the United Kingdom were showing great unrest over working conditions, pay, and management. Many strikes were being waged; most of them wildcat strikes called by the factory stewards, not by the unions themselves.

Goldthorpe was called in to study the situation at Vauxhall, to find out for management if there was anything to worry about at their factory. At the time of the study there were at Vauxhall no strikes, no disruptions, and no challenges by workers. Management wanted to know why and how might they contain the problems in advance. What were the chances that acute conflict would break out in the “well-managed” and “advanced” big factory?

After deep research and organizational analysis, the professor drew his conclusions. “Management” he declared, “had little to worry about.” According to the study, the workers were completely enculturated into the system, they were satisfied with their income and neither liked or disliked their work–in fact, they were indifferent to it, viewing it as a bit boring but inevitable. People were not on fire and engaged heart and soul with their company; neither were they actively disengaged or hostile. It was somewhere in between. Because their job was not intrinsically rewarding, most people did it just well enough to be done with it–so they could go home and work on other more worthwhile projects and be with their family. Work was instrumental. It was a means to support other interests outside the factory, where “real life” began.

Based then on his careful observations, Goldthorpe theorized that management had nothing to worry about: “Workers were passively apathetic and well integrated into the system” he confidently declared it. Furthermore, “most conflict with management belonged to the past.”

The organizational analysis was still at the printer’s when some employees got hold of a summary of his findings. They had the confident conclusions replicated. They distributed the scientist’s findings everywhere, to hundreds of co-workers. Also at around this time, a report of Vauxhall’s profits was being circulated, pointing out profits that were not shared with the employees. The next day something happened.

It was reported by the London Times in detail:

Wild rioting has broken out at the Vauxhall car factories in Luton. Thousands of workers streamed out of the shops and gathered in the factory yard. They besieged the management offices, calling for managers to come out, singing the ‘Red Flag,’ and shouting. ‘String them up!’ Groups attempted to storm the offices and battled police, which had been called to protect them (quoted in Gorz, 1973).

The rioting lasted for two days. The quasi-instant coordination demonstrated many things including ultrasensitive connections, amazing organizing skills, and mass motivation. All of this happened, then, in an advanced factory where systematic organizational analysis declared workers to be apathetic, weak as a group, and resigned to accept their lives in the system. What does this astonishing turn of events all mean? Had the researcher simply misread the data? And what about the idea, as is typically understood, that good science is objective and detached and the scientist is an impartial bystander whose methods should not influence the events he or she hopes to understand? Isn’t the aim of good science to reveal general laws or reliable patterns, that is, when something is “real and objective” it shows up as a consistent pattern like a law of gravity; x leads to y? Or could it be that when dealing with human systems—as opposed to physics and physical systems like the study of the orbits of the planets—we are dealing with such a distinct and qualitatively different subject matter that we need a radically new view of the relationship between knowledge and action? Let’s look at our next story.

***

No one expects Presidential debates to be anything but partisan and polarizing. One of the toughest on record was the contest between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney. Opposed on every agenda, the debates turned almost poisonous. But on October 12th, 2012 both men found happy agreement on one topic: the Cleveland Clinic is among the nation’s top health systems.

Romney declared that the Cleveland Clinic, along with Mayo, is the place that does things “superbly well” and Obama singled out the “smart things” it does to make it the leading light in the nation. He pointed directly to the conclusions researchers from Harvard had pointed to: speed, access, quality, and world-class innovation while simultaneously reducing health care costs. Why so good? Obama put his finger on it directly. He cited the Cleveland Clinic’s distinctive organizational form, its “group concept for multi-disciplinary care.”

The recognition wasn’t expected—but was very gratifying, according to the Clinic’s Eileen Sheil, executive director corporate communications. “It’s pretty neat when the president of the United States says something nice about you,” Sheil told PR Daily. Following the debate, Sheil’s team emailed a thank-you letter to the Clinic’s 42,000 employees, PR Daily reports. Announcements about the Romney-Obama momentary ceasefire and love fest were shared in Wall Street Journal, Forbes, NY Times, and others.

Now the second largest caregiver in the world the Cleveland Clinic is among the finest organizations of our time, not just in health care, but also in every aspect of management from supply chain innovation to leading the green revolution for sustainability in health care. In 2012, there were 5.1 million outpatient visits throughout the Cleveland Clinic health system and 157,000 hospital admissions. Patients came for treatment from every state and from more than 130 countries. In terms of breakthrough science and clinical practice the Cleveland Clinic is consistently ranked by US News and World Report as the #1 heart center in the world, while the most recent headlines wrote: “Cleveland Clinic Named One of World’s Most Ethical Companies for Third Time.” At every turn the organization is breaking new ground. “It’s a tremendous honor to know that we’re being recognized as a system that values transparency and ethical decision-making,” said Cleveland Clinic President and CEO Toby Cosgrove, MD. “It is yet another sign that we are committed to doing what’s right for our patients, our community and our caregivers.”

When did this organization transform or take a leap forward, in Jim Collins’ apt phrase, from “good to great?” Surprisingly, it was at a time not unlike the Vauxhall automobile company’s revolution. It was a tough year in Cleveland’s industrial city. On July 23rd 1968 the racial issues of earlier Hough Riots spread to Glenville in a shootout that led to 48 hours of violence. Many African-American residents in the eastern part of Cleveland believed that the city, state, and federal government officials were not meeting their needs. There were power struggles everywhere it seems. At the Cleveland Clinic the power struggles were not racial but professional. The physicians—over 300 strong at the time— appointed a small group to meet in secret at Dr. Bill Kiser’s home. They drafted a letter to the board. It was later called “the revolution of 1968.” In essence it declared that physician had become an instrument of a bureaucratic hierarchy that excluded their voice. People not trained in medicine were making all the decisions. The physicians asked for change, “or else we walk.” The change they wanted was unprecedented. The group wanted to lead the institution as a whole. Not just the medical side—he whole thing; the administrative side as well. Beyond the physician group practice they wanted leadership, real leadership, in marketing, finance, strategy, communications, accounting—everything usually associated with MBA’s. In other words a world famous surgeon might also be head of accounting. He or she would not cease being a surgeon: they would start early in morning; from 7:00 am to 9:00 a.m. they would be top executive leading the accounting group; the rest of the day, of course, in the surgery room. They in essence eliminated the split between “workers” and “managers.” They were one in the same.

As if this were not outrageous enough, they created an inefficient if not time costly committee structure of an amazingly complex network form. Everyone was confused by the hundreds of committees, sometimes lost in a maze of consensus building forums. Big decisions would be made in groups of upwards of three hundred people at a time, deliberating over not hours, but days. For some it was agonizing at its worst and at best, “a mystery.” A book on the history of the Cleveland Clinic To Act as a Unit, was written tracing the first decade of the radical organizational experiment and showed how it became so hard to understand, from a conventional management perspective, that it was a miracle it worked at all. The author likened it to a famous biblical passage in Ezekiel about the wheels of God and the whirlwind of it all:

It is like Ezekiel’s vision of the wheels, in which the big wheel moved by faith and the little wheel move by the grace of God. The keys to success are the participants’ desire to do what is best for the Cleveland Clinic and their confidence in one another’s integrity. Businessmen looking at the “unhierarchical” organization feel as mystified as Ezekiel did about what made the wheels work.” (CC, 1971)

So that’s when the Cleveland Clinic called in their very own Goldthorpe. They went to the number one Organizational Behavior PhD program in the world and pulled in Professor Suresh Srivastva, Chair of program, along with two PhD students, Alan Jensen and David Cooperrider. Alan immediately launched a dissertation study of leadership: how would a physician bring their physician mind (and professional training) into the mind of management and how might the physician paradigm affect the way of managing? And David, as a junior to Al Jensen, served as Al’s research assistant but also was asked by the Chairman of the Board of Governors, Dr. William Kiser, to do an organizational diagnosis. “The communication issues are so problematic.” Suresh, their adviser, was on retainer as an organization development consultant at the highest levels. He would guide the effort. The two studies would provide insight on the organization’s health, and perhaps serve as a platform for change. Nothing unusual at this point, lots of companies begin their change process with an organizational analysis.

But within the seeming chaos of it all, the wide-eyed junior researcher had an epiphany of sorts, sitting by the Cleveland Clinic’s magnificent water fountain and whispering pond. It was a sparkling day and Cooperrider was overcome with feelings of inspiration and sense of adventure, and the deepest gratitude he had ever felt. His brilliant advisor had placed him into the heartbeat of one of the most advanced organizations in the world. What a generous act. Every door was opened; a chance to sit with and learn from 50 of the most decorated physicians in the world. There were people like Dr. Esselstyn who would someday prove that we could reverse heart disease and create a heart attack proof society by going into plant based nutrition; there was Dr. Bernadine Healy, the head of research and later the first woman to lead the National Institutes of Health, then the American Red Cross; there was Dr. Joseph Hahn a neurosurgeon who helped develop a brain-mapping technique that uses implantable electrodes to locate the site of seizures in epilepsy patients, and the list went on (see http://medcitynews.com “The 50 best Cleveland clinic doctors ever.”)

So the younger doctoral student was simply awestruck, not only because of the physician stature and stardom but also with the thought that even though quite messy and chaotic, a major management innovation was being born. And it is true: dramatic organizational innovation is a rarity. Technical innovations dazzle every day. Medical innovations make us marvel every day, but genuine management innovation? It’s almost as if the Weberian bureaucracy— the pervasive command and control structure that is diagrammed the same way in virtually any organization—is the de-facto pinnacle of human organization. It’s like the seemingly fruitless search in political science for the successor beyond democracy, where many flatly argue that there will be none—it’s “the end of history”—and democracy is the best we have and will have. It’s the same with organizational imagination. One commentator asks: “Why does management seem stuck in a time warp?” He continues by probing, “Who’s managing your company.” To a large extent its being managed by ghosts of long departed theorists and practitioners who invented the rules of management in the early years of the 20th century. Signs of the ghosts from the past are everywhere. Look at the “musty machinery of management” the things that invisibly repeat. How about the standardized routines, tightly drawn roles and job descriptions, cascading objectives, official roles relating not persons, chains of command, and the gospel of efficiency? But here, in Cleveland, was a strange organization breaking all the old century rules. It was filled with innovation from everywhere and there was an electric current of passion omnipresent everywhere, even if confusing and conflicted. Decision forums existed for 300 people. There was a culture of inclusion (full voice); commitment to consensus; and everyone focused on excellence at every turn. The parallel experience today might be stepping into the Google complex early in its development. Think about how it must have felt then, to the young researcher, just getting started and landing in a diamond field. Imagine if he was instead in the domain of physics or astronomy and, as a very first career assignment, was thrown onto a team that would soon discover a remarkably near earth-like planet, one that nobody had ever noticed, with water and oxygen and cellular organisms and everything needed for a Cambrian explosion of life. What a dream to be included on a team like that, to be able to name something like that.

So David sat down with his adviser and shared the exhilaration and gratitude: “this is perhaps the most important organizational innovation in the world” and therefore “I’m not sure we should be doing an organizational diagnosis, we might miss the precious details of the innovation.” Suresh gave the next command and direction: “lead with your excitement: your task is to find everything that propels excellence in this emerging group innovation—and, by the way, forget everything you’ve ever learned about organization development.”

David re-examined, time and again, the thousand pages interview data that he and Allen had collected. But instead of diagnosis he poured over the notes setting aside all the accounts of failures, problems, or seeming organizational barriers and breakdowns; and asked only one rigorous question: “what gives life to this nascent organizational form when it is most alive?” Everything else was irrelevant. The method of analysis was to systematically and deliberately elevate and magnify everything of value or inspiration, then use the positive analysis to speculate on provocative propositions or hypothesis for a full blown theory on how such an “egalitarian organization” could rise to its greatest positive potential. It would require long jumps of speculation. It would be not just a theory about yesterday’s organization but an anticipatory analysis of what’s possible. It would create a future logic and a future story exploring “what could be?” But it would not be a utopian logic, for all along it would be grounded in the vivid utopia presented in the data. Later he would write about the approach: “to consciously peer into the life-giving present, only to find the future brilliantly interwoven into the texture of the actual.” A 50-page report was authored. The Board awaited it. The study took over a year; it was 1981.

Unlike Vauxhall, the report was not leaked. The confidential “Emergent Themes” analysis went right to the Board of Governors. Then something of a quasi-explosion occurred. The physicians—all trained in diagnosis of disease—demanded at the outset to know “where are all the problems?” They were honestly confused, troubled, even impatient. They knew what a consultant report should look like and their time was precious. Then the methodology was explained. A simple footnote, as if an afterthought, defined the method as an “Appreciative Inquiry.” Nobody knew what that meant, for it was the first time the term had been used in any kind of study or organizational analysis. Then, with the logic outlined, the meeting erupted in another kind of burst. This time it was genuine intrigue, curiosity, excitement, penetrating explortation, and pride that maybe; just maybe, this organizational innovation was a precious breakthrough, not a mess in-the-making. Before the meeting’s adjournment the Chairman of the Board was so captivated by the quality of “high level dialogue” that he asked: “Can we do this same kind of appreciative inquiry, not simply with our 300 person physician group, but all 8,000 people?” And so it was decided. The provocative, compelling inquiry-driven picture of the future would immediately become the basis of an organization-wide OD effort involving 100’s of survey sessions, department retreats, design and strategy sessions and further appreciative analysis both within the Cleveland Clinic as well as outside of it with other acquired organizations and stakeholders.

A twelve-year project was launched, perhaps one of the longest, deepest and most profound organization development projects ever enacted. It coincided with the Cleveland Clinic’s most accelerated growth years (today over 47,000 staff—up from 8,000, and 5.1 million patient visits—up from a 0.5 million.) A multiplicity of top journal research articles were published. After Dr. Bill Kiser retired he reflected with emotion, “those years were magical…the appreciative analysis literally peered into our soul and dynamic capabilities. Our growth could not have happened without the visions that poured out of not simply the pages of the research, but everyone’s advanced minds as they engaged creatively and built beyond the findings. The study brought us together over and over, and helped us preserve our genetic core while enabling us to break new ground in medicine, move quickly as whole, and grow exponentially at the very same time.”

Such was the fertile ground for David Cooperrider’s dissertation which tracked it with time one and time two and time three data, how the sheer act of inquiry into a system can have dramatic and upward impact. With the help of Professor Ron Fry, another crucial committee member and collaborator, David was encouraged to magnify the emphasis of his dissertation, to include a full articulation of the theory, epistemology, and vision of the methodology itself. It was solid advice. When Suresh Srivastva, chair of the dissertation committee, examined the first full draft of the theoretical case for Appreciative Inquiry: A Methodology for Organizational Innovation, he shared an immediate premonition: “this is the kind of scholarship of consequence that will change the world.”

It is no exaggeration then to say that Appreciative Inquiry was as much created by the real-world interplay with this pioneering light in health care industry, as it was by the group from Case Western Reserve University. The colleagueship, the experimental spirit, two world-class institutions, the mentorship, the gift of new eyes, and a culture and community of ideas—it was a theater of inquiry.

No one can say whether Suresh’s premonition for world change will ultimately play out. But perhaps already there has been at least one, small contribution. Do you remember it? On October 12th 2012 President Obama and Mitt Romney together found joyful agreement on one topic: the Cleveland Clinic is among the nation’s top health systems

***

Inquiry as World-making

From the perspective and promise of the new iPod the intriguing questions are many: what was the difference between the organizational studies at Vauxhall and Cleveland Clinic? Even better, what are the similarities—how were they exactly the same? We believe that both of these stories are exactly the same in at least three ways…

*NOTE: Stay tuned for more, as this is a book-in-progress charting out the next stages in the field of organization development and change! Lindsey and I welcome comments or feedback for next drafts. For those who have requested it or have an interest in reading more on the beginning theory and vision for Appreciative Inquiry you can download David Cooperrider’s early PhD. dissertation.

(Click for dissertation pdf here.)