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 7: Public Service Case Study

Tojo Thatchenkery and Dilpreet Chowdhry

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


Employees of public service organizations may have more socially sensitive motivations than those from for-profit, private sectors. Whether such differences would lead to different knowledge sharing challenges or not was something we were not aware of when a GMU team began their ASK initiative with one such organization. The international Public Service Organization (PSO) showcased in this case study had its own knowledge sharing challenge because its employees were geographically dispersed and there was a significant amount of turnover every few years. To the GMU team, both of these features appeared to underscore the need for a formal knowledge sharing program. Since not many people stayed at PSO for over five years communication was not free flowing and people were not bumping into each other at the water cooler. As a result, only a limited amount of organizational history had become institutionalized. The PSO therefore welcomed the opportunity to conduct a knowledge sharing initiative. In order to maintain the anonymity of the organization described in this chapter, we are not able to write much about the history or mission of the organization since doing so might reveal its identity. We can however share that this was an internationally known public service organization, about 7500 in strength, with a cherished history and attracting highly committed individuals who were interested in making a positive difference in society. The focus of the ASK initiative was to examine one particular division within the headquarter organization of the PSO whose...

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