Organization Development

Date of Paper/Work


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Organization Development (Ed.D.)

Type of Paper/Work



John Conbere; Alla Heorhiadi; William Rudelius


The organization development (OD) field has created and utilizes a number of change models which may be used by other fields. This exploratory case study looks at the use of the Appreciative Inquiry (AI) model by outside sales people for a midwestern distributor. A model was developed based on the customer orientation-selling orientation (SOCO) of sales people and their use of adaptive selling behaviors. The salespeople were surveyed for adaptive selling behaviors using an ADAPTS survey (Spiro & Weitz, 1990) and for their customer orientation-selling orientation a SOCO survey (Thomas, Soutar, & Ryan, 2001) was used. Based on the survey results, sales people were placed in one of four categories and their use of a positive (AI) based sales approach was predicted. A sample of 20 sales people, 5 from each category, was interviewed by phone to determine their use of the AI model in their sales approach. The results of the study showed a positive approach was used by sales people, but not quite as predicted. This result may be due to additional variables that need to be considered as part of the model and limitations in the interview process. A revised model was proposed. The implications for the OD field and practitioners were discussed. Suggestions were made for the need to repeat the research and do further research in other business settings. It was also suggested to study how the model could be applied to OD practitioners and how it might be used in sales training.


appreciative inquiry, customer orientation, selling orientation, sales process, adaptive selling behaviors

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.