Positive Organization Development

David L. Cooperrider and Lindsey N. Godwin

in The Oxford Handbook of Positive Organizational Scholarship

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199734610
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Positive Organization Development

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  • Psychology
  • Organizational Psychology
  • Social Psychology



This chapter presents a framework for innovation-inspired positive organization development (IPOD); IPOD is presented as both a radical break from the problem solving approaches that have come to dominate the field, as well as a homecoming to OD’s original affirmative spirit. The converging fields that inform the theory and practice of IPOD are detailed: appreciative inquiry, positive organizational scholarship, positive psychology, design theory, and the rise of sustainable enterprises. The theory of change underlying IPOD is articulated, including the three stages in creating strengths-based organizational innovation: the elevation-and-extension of strengths, the broadening-and-building of capacity, and the establishment of the new-and-eclipsing of the old. Recent work from the city of Cleveland, Ohio, illustrates how these stages unfold. The chapter concludes with an agenda for evolving the field of IPOD, calling for a focus on designing positive institutions that refract and magnify our highest human strengths outward into society.

Keywords: Innovation-inspired positive organization development; appreciative inquiry; managing as design; sustainability; positive institutions; strength-based management; innovation; theory of change

Article.  9267 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Organizational Psychology ; Social Psychology

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