When Cooperrider first talked about these ideas at the Academy of Management in 1984 there was literally laughter in the crowd when he suggested “organizations are not problems to be solved” but perhaps are better approached as gifts, as a “miracle of human interaction” alive with infinite strengths… Today we have an outpouring of new research —the positive psychology movement, the Gallup strength-based human resource methods, the emergence of increasingly sophisticated best practices analysis, theories of positive deviance, solution focused therapies, and the like. AI anticipated and helped nurture a theoretical foundation for all of these. The early AI writings were, in many ways, ahead of their time.
William Rothwell, Ph.D. Professor of Workforce Development, Pennsylvania State University