He currently holds a professorial position at Case Western Reserve University and not much is presented regarding his personal life (David Cooperrider, n.d.).
As a doctoral student, Cooperrider was conducting an organizational analysis studying what was wrong with the human side of organizations (Watkins & Mohr, 2001).
Through his research, Cooperrider recognized the many positive activities contributing to the success of organizations, such as cooperation and innovation (Watkins & Mohr, 2001).
With encouragement from his advisor, he focused on examining factors that contribute to the effective functioning of organizations and ignored everything else (Watkins & Mohr, 2001).
The term Appreciative Inquiry (Ai) became an emergent theme and was published in his dissertation (Watkins & Mohr, 2001).
Cooperrider served as advisor to prominent leaders and organizations, such as Dalai Lama, Jimmy Carter, and the Cleveland Clinic (David Cooperrider, n.d.).
He is the founding board member of the International Positive Psychology Association (David Cooperrider, n.d.).
Cooperrider was recognized in 2015 as one of the most influential leaders in the field by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (David Cooperrider, n.d.).
In 2014, the David L. Cooperrider Center for Appreciative Inquiry Center was founded at Champlain College’s Stiller School of Business (David Cooperrider, n.d.).
(David Cooperrider, n.d.)
PhD, Case Western Reserve University in 1986
MS, George Williams in 1983
BA, Augustana College in 1976
As co-founder of Appreciative Inquiry (Ai), Cooperrider developed an approach to organizational change that promotes focusing on doing more of what the organization does well instead of doing less of what the organization does not do well (Hammond, 2013).
By creating a Provocative Proposition, a key step in Ai, participants are stretched to envision the organization at its best (Hammond, 2013).
To learn more about Ai, watch:
Field of Organization Theory
More than one hundred articles focusing specifically on Ai have been published, many of which are published in The Journal of the Organization Development Practitioner (Ai in the Press, n.d.).
Shafritz, Ott, and Jang (2016) assert Ai challenged the traditional approach to problem solving in organization theory, from a focus on identifying a problem to valuing what is best in an organization.
Ai brings a “cooperative, co-evolutionary search for the best in people, their organizations, and the world around them” (Shafritz, Ott, & Jang, 2016, p. 336).
Shafritz, Ott, and Jang (2016) state Ai helps discover what gives lives to an organization.
Ai participants walk away with a sense of commitment, joy, and affirmation by remembering past moments of success (Hammond, 2013).
Grant and Humphries' (2006) critique of Ai is that it fails to use critique as a means to evaluate. In addition, the authors add how “critique not only expands the possibilities of construction, it also forms a significant origin for transformation” (p. 406).
Fitzgerald, Murrell, and Newman’s (2001) critique on Ai states “while Ai excels at facilitating warm and fuzzy group hugs, it has no basis in or use for hard data” (p. 17), a need select organizations require.
Appreciative Inquiry Commons. (n.d.).
Ai in the press
. Retrieved May 17, 2017, from
Case Western Reserve University. (n.d.).
. Retrieved May 17, 2017, from
Fitzgerald, S. P., Murrell, K. L., & Newman, H. L. (2001).
Appreciative inquiry – the new frontier
. In organization development: Data driven methods for change. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
Grant, S. & Humphries, M. (2006). Critical evaluation of appreciative inquiry: Bridging an apparent paradox. Action Research, Vol. 4, 401-418.
Hammond, S. A. (2013). The thin book of appreciative inquiry. Bend, OR: Thin Book Publishing Company.
Shafritz, J. M., Ott, J. S. & Jang, Y. S. (2016). Classics of organization theory (8th ed.). Boston, MA: Wadswoth Cengage Learning.
Watkins, J. M., & Mohr, B. J. (2001). Appreciative inquiry: Change at the speed of imagination. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer.