Looking for the 'bigger picture': an application of the appreciative inquiry method in Renfrewshire council for voluntary services

Daune West, Liz Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)


Renfrewshire Council for Voluntary Services (RCVS) is involved in a large-scale project to investigate and develop a wireless network in Paisley and its environs. This exciting project has implications for many different actors and stakeholders, not the least, RCVS itself as its members contemplate its future possible
practices, processes and services that a successful wireless network may enable. Seeing connections, possibilities, and potential developments as well as keeping an eye on the on-going purpose and objectives of RCVS are challenging tasks.
This situation led to the collaboration between a member of RCVS and an Information Systems academic from the University of Paisley. The purpose of their collaboration was to try and ensure that the ‘bigger picture’of RCVS and its future, given the wireless project, did not get ‘lost’in the detail of the
technological project. To this end, an analysis of the RCVS system, as understood by its Chief Executive, was undertaken. In this paper we describe the investigative process adopted which uses a method of inquiry
which draws heavily upon the work of Vickers [(1965). The art of judgement: A study of policy making. London: Chapman and Hall] and Checkland [(1981). Systems thinking, systems practice. Chichester:Wiley], Checkland and Holwell [(1998). Information, systems and information systems: Making sense of the field.
Chichester: Wiley] and Checkland and Scholes [(1990). Soft systems methodology in action. Chichester: Wiley]. The models developed as part of the investigation are described and the results of the collaboration are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-441
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Information Management
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • Appreciative Inquiry Method (AIM), voluntary sector, information systems analysis, information management
  • Voluntary sector
  • Information systems analysis
  • Information Management


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