Appreciative inquiry within interprofessional education: how it overlooks the influence of social structures

By | 16th May 2011

Appreciative inquiry (AI) is a relatively new approach to initiating or managing organizational change that is associated with the ‘positiveness’ movement in psychology and its offshoot positive organizational scholarship. Rather than dwelling upon problems related to change, AI encourages individuals to adopt a positive, constructive approach to managing change. In recent years, AI has been used to initiate change across a broad range of public and private sector organizations. In a recent interview-based study which explored how AI was employed as a change agent for implementing an IPE initiative across a number of health care institutions we found a strong resonance and fit for AI both among the health and social care professionals who participated in this initiative. Numerous individuals commented on the enthusiasm and energy AI engendered, while praising its ability to enhance their working lives and interprofessional relationships. Yet a number of difficulties were also reported. These focused on problems with the translation of the AI process into achievable structural level (e.g. professional, cultural) changes. Based on these findings, we go on to argue that the use of AI can overlook a number of structural factors, which will ultimately limit its ability to actually secure meaningful and lasting change within health care.

(Scott Reeves, Editor-in-Chief)

For more information read: Dematteo & Reeves Journal of Interprofessional Care, Vol. 25, pages 203-208