Optentia to collaborate with Appreciative Inquiry pioneer in 2016

Annette Willemse -- Wed, 11/25/2015 - 15:40

Optentia to collaborate with US Appreciative Inquiry pioneer in 2016

Prof Jacqueline Stavros is synonymous with the field of applied positive organisational psychology and soon she will also be linked to the Optentia Research Focus Area on the Vaal Triangle Campus of the North-West University (NWU). 


Prof Jacqueline Stavros


Prof Stavros is not only held in high regard within the field of applied positive organisational psychology, but is also the creator of the Strengths, Opportunities Aspirations and Results (SOAR) methodology.  SOAR is a strategy formulation and planning framework that allows an organisation to plan its most preferred future.

“SOAR takes the Appreciative Inquiry (AI) philosophy and applies it to provide a strategic thinking and dialogue process,” explains Prof Llewellyn van Zyl, leader of the Optimising Performance sub-programme within Optentia.  According to Prof Van Zyl the SOAR methodology can be applied in various ways, including: strategy, strategic planning, team building, coaching, leadership development, and strategic summits.

“Since her research aims to link appreciative and strengths-based strategic initiatives to individual and organisational performance outcomes, it offers the potential for cooperative research especially within the Optimising Performance sub-programme,” says Prof van Zyl and adds that after engaging with Prof Stavros and her project team, several constructive research possibilities have been identified. As from 2016 the sub-programme will be collaborating with Prof Stavros in the application of AI within everyday contexts.

More about Prof Stavros

Prof Jacqueline M. Stavros is an associate professor at the Graduate College of Management, Lawrence Technological University, a principal of the Corporation for Positive Change, and a charting co-owner of Appreciative Inquiry Consulting. She is a trainer and consultant specialising in AI, strategic change, leadership, capacity building, cross-cultural communications, and e-learning.

She has been using AI to help her clients identify their positive core and get focused for profitable and sustainable growth and primarily with small-to-medium sized organisations in a wide variety of industries: automotive, healthcare, banking, information technology, education, government, NGOs, and professional services.

More about the Optimising Performance sub-programme

Prof Llewellyn van Zyl 


The purpose of the Optimising Performance sub-programme is to research factors associated with the optimisation of institutional (individual, team, organisational, community and societal) performance. Researchers within this sub-programme are particularly interested in understanding (a) how optimal performance should be conceptualised, defined and measured, (b) the individual, team, organisational and societal factors associated with, leading to and impacting on institutional performance, and (c) how optimal performance could be developed/achieved within applied contexts.

Prof Van Zyl explains that the sub-progamme furthermore aims to develop and evaluate cutting edge research- and intervention methodologies to assess, evaluate and develop optimal performance of institutions. “We specifically focus on matters relating to talent optimisation, optimal well-being, strengths-based approaches to business development, and the impact of positive leadership on optimal performance.”