Spirit of Appreciation
In this third and final article in the Appreciation Inquiry (AI) series, Caryn Vanstone explores how Tim Haynes, an internal consultant at BP, is moving beyond methods and orthodoxies by using the 'spirit' of AI in his work. She illuminates some of the key theoretical propositions that separate AI from other approaches to human change. AI is fundamentally based on a way of thinking known as Social Constructionism. Social Constructionists believe all observation and perception of reality is filtered through our own stories, belief and value systems and theoretical 'lenses'. It was Haynes' instinct to use an approach that put people together in a co-inquiry. This would not have been so effective if outsiders had undertaken the inquiry (appreciative or otherwise) and then fed back the results to the workforce (a common but dysfunctional application of AI). It is the act of participative co-inquiry located within the population itself that creates the change.
Vanstone, C. & Haynes, T. (2004) Spirit of Appreciation, Training Magazine, September.