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Appreciative Inquiry Interview Questions
After reading up on the concepts and aspects of Appreciative Inquiry (AI), I was very intrigued to see if this type of process was ever carried out or experimented within the military channels. I was intrigued to see if something like this was ever carried out within a military hierarchy of any kind, and how whoever conducted appreciative inquiry within that forum went about doing it. After some searching, I was able to actually find a 246-page Master Thesis from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California titled “The Introduction of Appreciative Inquiry to the U.S. Navy using Appreciative Inquiry Interviews and the Large Group Intervention with Application to U.S. Marine Corps Logistics Strategic Management”.
I was interested to see how, if a process like this was indeed conducted within the military construct, how they went about it with their approach; to include the AI interview questions and overall method of their conduct. After looking over the document and seeing how even David Cooperrider himself was involved and alongside the Navy with this study, I was able to focus and see how the line of questioning was steered during the Discovery stage.
Now if my supervisor within my line of work did actually come to me and asked me to lead an AI process and conduct an interview process, I would feel much more comfortable and better prepared to carry out this agenda. Within the Navy study, I found the following questions to be very useful if I needed to conduct my own interview process. The questions listed below are rephrased so as if I was conducting the interview with members from my own branch of service – the U.S. Army – and each of the lines of questions, as discussed by Lewis, Passmore, and Cantore (2016), are broken down as “relationship questions, process questions, and possible probe questions (pp. 51-52).
· Tell me what your role is within the unit? (Relationship question)
· What do you value most within yourself? Your work? The Army? What was interesting about each of them that made you value them so highly? (Relationship and probe question)
· Think about a high point, a time when you made a difference, felt proud, successful or made a change within the unit. What did that feel like exactly? (Process and probe question)
· Name three things that the unit does the best right now – three things that we should not change in the future because we do them so well. (Process question)
· Name three trends you see in the unit or in the Army that you sense that real changes, positive change, is possible? These things should give you a sense of urgency, that it’s time to act now. (Process question)
I felt these questions were an excellent starter to an AI interview because it allows those being interviewed to warm up and be receptive to the idea of speaking about all that is good within their world thru their eyes instead of focusing on conflicts and concerns. Plus, going from relationship to process questions allows for the interviewees to transition from who they are and what they do / contribute to the unit, into feel good stories about the unit itself and all that they see good with the organization. Lewis et al., (2016) support this concept by stating that “the relationship questions are likely to be about the person’s role in the organization and what they value about the organization or their role. As the interview moves into exploring the organizational process, the focus shifts to the organization as people experience it. The aim is to draw out stories and experiences about the organization and the person at their best” (p. 51).
Overall, I chose these questions because I believe that they present a wonderful opening to explain the context of the unit in a brighter aspect, and would allow the interviewees to express why transformation or revolution within the unit construct may be needed. As Lewis et al., (2016) describe it, “it is an opportunity to explain the background in more detail, particularly why change is felt to be needed and why Appreciative Inquiry is an appropriate way forward” (p. 49).
Lewis, S., Passmore, J., and Cantore, S. (2016). Appreciative inquiry: How do you do it? Appreciative Inquiry for Change Management: Using AI to Facilitate Organizational Development. (pp. 44-62). London, England: Kogan Page. Retrieved from EBSCOhost database.
Tripp, P., and Zipsie, M. (2002). Steering committee, interview team, and summit material. The Introduction of Appreciative Inquiry to the U.S. Navy using Appreciative Inquiry Interviews and the Large Group Intervention with Applications to U.S. Marine Corps Logistics Strategic Management. (pp. 109-132). Monterey, California: Naval Postgraduate School. Retrieved from Defense Technical Information Center website:http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a403679.pdf
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