Neelima Paranjpey on Problem-Solving and Appreciative Inquiry

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[We’re pleased to welcome Neelima Paranjpey of Benedictine University. Dr. Paranjpey recently collaborated with Gervase R. Bushe of Simon Fraser University on their paper “Comparing the Generativity of Problem-Solving and Appreciative Inquiry: A Field Experiment” from the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science.]

When I was pursuing my PhD in Organization Development, I was very inquisitive about the Appreciative Inquiry process. For years, OD has JABS_72ppiRGB_powerpointfocused on a problem seeking approach and the positive approach to organization change made me curious about its application, whether it works, why it works, how we can improve its theory and application. When I read more I found that Appreciative Inquiry is more than just positive and that it changes organization’s mindset and increases employees capability for renewed social action.

I was working in a transit organization which was undergoing a significant change. The leaders had a desire to initiate an employee recognition program to increase morale in the organization. I used the employee recognition initiative as a basis to conduct my field experiment in appreciative inquiry. I was interested in understanding whether appreciative inquiry was more generative than problem solving. It was fascinating to lead the groups through the process. Participants were engaged in all the groups as this was the first time such an initiative was implemented in the organization. However, the ideas emerging from the appreciative inquiry sessions were much more interesting and applicable. This was apparent from not only the quantitative results, but even the qualitative open-ended questions asked during the focus groups corroborated the findings. The research has several implications to both academicians and practitioners. This is first time that generativity has been conceptualized and measured in appreciative inquiry. Also, given that a generative approach to appreciative inquiry results in compelling and practical ideas in a limited time frame and creates a more favorable mindset towards changes makes it an important study for organization leaders who are attempting to get real employee engagement in any change initiative.

You can read “Comparing the Generativity of Problem-Solving and Appreciative Inquiry: A Field Experiment” from the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science for free by clicking here. Don’t forget to sign up for e-alerts and get all the latest news and research from the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science sent directly to your inbox!

Questions? Comments? Feel free to contact Dr. Paranjpey at neelimaparanjpey<at>gmail<dot>com!

gervaseGervase Bushe is Professor of Leadership and Organization Development in the Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University. He has 30 years of experience in a wide range of organizational change and development projects and is internationally known for his expertise in appreciative inquiry, a method for transforming organizations by focusing on what works.

27fd91fNeelima Paranjpey, PhD is an experienced Talent Management and OD professional who specializes in providing positive change solutions to improve and grow organizations. She currently works with Vaya Group, Chicago as an Assessment & Development Consultant. She earned her PhD in Organization Development from Benedictine University and MS in I/O Psychology from Illinois Institute of Technology.

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