Dialogic democracy meets command and control: Transformation through the Appreciative Inquiry Summit
Powley, Edward H.
Fry, Ronald E.
Barrett, Frank J.
Bright, David S.
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This article describes how managers and executives can use Appreciative Inquiry (AI) to promote democratic organizing to involve multiple stakeholders and generate strategic policy. Planned, temporary spaces where democratic organizing can occur may benefit and enhance the change capacity of command and control cultures without replacing or discounting basic organizing structures. We describe democratic organizing in the context of the Appreciative Inquiry Summit, a large-system change initiative that uses dialogic democratic processes to inspire positive change. A case study of ongoing AI Summits within the United States Navy offers an example democratic organizing in a command and control environment. We suggest that within a temporarily organized space like the AI Summit, normative consciousness, holistic coUegiality, and communal conviction are key principles of democratic organizing. These design principles not only foster organizational democracy, but they also promote effective and collaborative relationships across organizational levels and functional boundaries well after the intervention has ended.
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