Appreciative Inquiry as a Tool for Leadership and Driving Change in Complex Organizations Such as Libraries: A Brief Literature Review and Discussion


  • Jason Openo Medicine Hat College


appreciative inquiry, change management, leadership


Appreciative Inquiry is unapologetic in its focus on the positive, believing communities can be strengthened through collaborative inquiry as a method to turn problems into transformative change. Through re-framing, appreciative interviews, and the building of provocative propositions, members of an organization can become reconnected to the life of the organization.

Driving and managing these change processes will be leaders who are convinced there are better approaches, who are willing to learn and who truly believe in the power of the positive. Appreciative Leadership, which grows out of the appreciative tradition, is “unique among leadership theories both past and present” through its focus on “strengths-based practice,” and the “search for the best in people and organizations” as a way to create “organizational innovation and transformation” (Orr & Cleveland-Innes, 2015). This paper will show how Appreciative Inquiry and Appreciative Leadership can be used to surface organizational hopes and dreams, create community, and build the future world we want to live in, where libraries are widely understood as essential services creating strong and resilient learning communities.


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