What is critical appreciation? Insights from studying the critical turn in an appreciative inquiry

RIDLEY-DUFF, Rory J and DUNCAN, Graham (2015). What is critical appreciation? Insights from studying the critical turn in an appreciative inquiry. Human Relations, 68 (10), 1579-1599.

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Link to published version:: 10.1177/0018726714561698


Appreciative Inquiry (AI) was developed in the late 1980s as a process to encourage social innovation by involving people in discovering the ‘best of what is’. Recent research has suggested that AI practitioners’ focus on positivity is now inhibiting AI’s focus on generative theory. This paper responds by asking the question “what is critical appreciation?”, then seeks answers by studying the critical turn in a Big Lottery Research project. By tracking the narratives of research assistants (RAs) as they describe the ‘life worlds’ and ‘systems’ in their community, we clarify the recursive processes that lead to deeper levels of appreciation. We contribute to the development of critical appreciative processes (CAPs) that start with a critical inquiry (CI) to deconstruct experience and then engage critical appreciative processes during the remainder of the AI cycle to construct new experiences. The initial CI establishes which system imperatives colonise the life world of participants whilst subsequent critical-appreciative processes build participants’ aspirations to design new social systems.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The authors wish to thank the Big Lottery for a three-year research grant (grant number: C756A981) to conduct this study.
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Sheffield Business School Research Institute > Ethical Organisations
Identification Number: 10.1177/0018726714561698
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Rory Ridley-Duff
Date Deposited: 07 Jan 2015 12:51
Last Modified: 15 Oct 2015 19:11
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/8907

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