Appreciative Inquiry is a theory of intentional collective action which provides a model of communication processes for recognizing existing organizational strengths, as opposed to problems, as the basis for action plans. This paper reports on a case where Appreciative Inquiry was improperly applied to an all-day workshop that was aimed at initiating a new interorganizational collaboration (IOC) among 18 different agencies from public transportation and health sectors. We analyze why and how the workshop participants could not envision their potential IOC. The analysis reveals several issues related to the design elements of the workshop, caused in part by the facilitator’s overreliance on Appreciative Inquiry’s 4D model and lack of consideration of the communicative needs in the specific context (i.e. pre-IOC interactions among unfamiliar organizational representatives that have not worked together previously). The paper concludes with suggestions for applying Appreciative Inquiry in IOCs.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Language and Linguistics
- Appreciative inquiry
- cross-sector collaboration
- interorganizational collaboration
- organizational communication