Appreciative Inquiry and Knowledge Management

Appreciative Inquiry and Knowledge Management

A Social Constructionist Perspective

New Horizons in Management series

Tojo Thatchenkery and Dilpreet Chowdhry

The authors of this book advance the Appreciative Sharing of Knowledge (ASK), a unique approach by which organizations create a culture that facilitates the sharing of information. Using social constructionist approaches, historical data, and case studies, the authors demonstrate that appreciation – or affirmation – is the key ingredient for people to trust each other and overcome their inhibitions and concerns about sharing what they know.

Chapter 6: Government Sector Case Studies

Tojo Thatchenkery and Dilpreet Chowdhry

Subjects: business and management, knowledge management, innovation and technology, knowledge management


The Appreciative Sharing of Knowledge approach is equally as applicable in the government sector as it is in the private. In this chapter we include two case studies – the Maritime Administration (MARAD) and the Another Federal Agency (AFA), a fictitious name to protect its identity. In MARAD, the Appreciative Sharing of Knowledge approach was much needed, since one third of the employees were eligible for retirement. Using the ASK approach helped MARAD access and preserve the tacit knowledge that would otherwise have been lost. In the AFA study, we will see an example of how a process group within the organization found value in the appreciative method. MARITIME ADMINISTRATION MARAD was a good candidate for an Appreciative Sharing of Knowledge analysis because the organization was about to enter into a significant knowledge management challenge with the potential of losing a major segment of the collective tacit knowledge of its employees. At the time of the study, over 35 percent of the employee population was eligible to retire and thus the potential loss of knowledge was significant. The leadership of the organization recognized the importance of retaining the tacit knowledge of employees and welcomed the opportunity to participate in an ASK initiative. The study was conducted by Dan Eisen, Ursula Koerner, Julia Lissely, Anita Murphy, and Ray Pagliarini, who were all George Mason University (GMU) students in the Organizational Learning graduate program at that time. The GMU team engaged in this ASK initiative with the active support of the...

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