Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Joseph D. Sobol

Committee Members

James J. Fox III, W. Edward Stead


This study is an examination of the role of story and storytelling within Appreciative Inquiry, a method of organizational change that orients around a consensus model building on individual and collective strengths instead of focusing on overcoming problems. Interviews with 12 Appreciative Inquiry practitioners were conducted, transcribed, and analyzed using a process of iterative coding consistent with a General Inductive method of qualitative research. Once consensus with a secondary coder was achieved, 6 themes emerged. The 6 emergent themes outlined general roles that story and storytelling plays in the Appreciative Inquiry process: relationship building, coauthoring a future, reframing narrative, narrative meaning, discovery, and engagement. No one of these categories seemed to guarantee success, and all success stories, shared during the interviews, incorporated something from all 6 of these categories. These categories also provide a possible framework for further study on how to optimize or incorporate more storytelling into Appreciative Inquiry practice.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.