This talk regards an organisational change initiative designed to address workplace stress within a public sector organisation in the UK. It applies a novel methodological approach, utilising participatory processes towards a strategy for change. It therefore demonstrates a change approach using Appreciative Inquiry (AI), as well as discussions of ‘best practice’ in the use of AI within organisations.
Design / Methods
The study applied an AI approach in which participants firstly recorded daily ‘logs’ which identified specific issues that caused them stress over 10 working days. These results formed the basis of a series of semi-structured individual interviews designed to elicit further, more specific change interventions. Finally the results of the interviews were used as guideline for a series of focus groups with staff and management representatives, with an emphasis on implementing the suggested changes.
The methodology led to the design and implementation of a number of organisationally-focused interventions to be explored here.
As with many change initiatives, a lack of clear evaluation is a limitation. This will be explored in the talk.
Research / Practical Implications
The presentation will demonstrate how AI can be used as a positively-focused alternative to approaches such as Action Research in order to design and implement change interventions. A theoretical update to the AI cycle is also suggested to incorporate evaluation as a key step.
Originality / Value
The project is among the first to utilise a mixed-methods approach to the use of AI for the design of stress management interventions.