Daniela Garbin Praničević
Paper presents the study of appreciative inquiry (AI) methodology in the context of management education. Current perception of managers in Slovenia about economic situation is negative which may have a significant impact on investment and positive outlook of future business. Therefore, we propose that AI which focuses on positive aspects of doing business needs to be investigated and implemented into management education of future managers and we provide empirical evidence of thinking patterns of three generations of students at the Faculty of Economics University of Ljubljana. AI means researching what gives success to human systems when they function at their best. It represents discovery process of optimum identity and a way to the best possible future. Positive core of existing situation is chosen as the focus of AI process. AI is researching into stories that give energy for further action. Purpose of this paper is to offer an alternative approach to tackling challenges, based on analyzing the causes of previous successes. Further, we aim to offer the scientific community a new methodology that solves real business, relational or individual challenges. In the Winter semester during study years 2012/13, 2013/14 and 2014/15 we invited our students to be in a state of inquiry about themselves, their life and their work. We asked them: What is the best future you can imagine? In a longitudinal study we have gathered 171 AI pair interviews documentations. Students’ AI data was analyzed in three thematic segments: 1) favorite quotes; 2) preservation of past and present into the future and 3) vision of the future. Analysis of all three generations’ AI interviews revealed emphasis in their favorite quotes on the “people” component and the need of the students to understand life and make sense of gained knowledge and experiences. They also stress the need to think about contemporary issues and gain practical experiences. Students would most like to preserve in the future their work ethics, dedication to hard work, creativity, family members around them, experiences and knowledge gained. Their visions are focused on balancing successful international careers and family lives. New ways of communication represent an important consideration for the students. They expressed their wish to be driven by intrinsic motivation and being respected in their profession. Theoretical advantages of our paper are in elaborating on AI in management education. Practical implications are in helping students to clarify their strategic goals and visions through introspection and qualitative methodology. Professors can implement and adjust the AI questionnaire based on their own developmental objectives and also based on the needs of their students. Contribution of our paper is in the field of management education and AI field.