David Cooperrider

David Cooperrider is the Fairmount Santrol-David L. Cooperrider Professor of Appreciative Inquiry at the Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University where he is faculty founder of the Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit and Co-director of the Strategy Innovation Lab.  David is best known for his founding theoretical articulation of Appreciative Inquiry, or “AI” as it is now known around the world. Today AI’s approach to strengths-inspired, instead of problematizing change, is being practiced everywhere: the corporate world, the world of public service, of economics, of education, of faith, of philanthropy, and social science scholarship—it is affecting them all. Jane Nelson, at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Leadership recently wrote, “David Cooperrider is one of the outstanding scholar-practitioners of our generation.” 

David has served as advisor to senior executives in business and societal leadership roles, including projects with five Presidents and Nobel Laureates such as William Jefferson Clinton, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Kofi Annan and others. David has served as strategic advisor to a wide variety of organizations including Apple, Verizon, Johnson & Johnson, Dairy Inc., National Grid, Smuckers, Sloan-Kettering, Fairmount Minerals, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, McKinsey, Parker Hannifin, Sherwin Williams, Dealer Tire, Wal-Mart as well as American Red Cross, American Hospital Association, Cleveland Clinic, and United Way.  

David has published 25 books and authored over 100 articles and book chapters. He has served as editor of both the Journal of Corporate Citizenship with Ron Fry and the current academic research series on Advances for Appreciative Inquiry, with University of Copenhagen’s Professor Michel Avital.  In 2010 David was awarded the Peter F. Drucker Distinguished Fellow award from the Drucker School of Management, recognizing David’s contribution to management thought. David’s books include Appreciative Inquiry: A Positive Revolution in Change (with Diana Whitney); The Organization Dimensions of Global Change (with Jane Dutton); Organizational Courage and Executive Wisdom (with Suresh Srivastva) and the 4-volume research series Advances in Appreciative Inquiry, and more. David has received a long list of awards including Distinquished Contribution to Workplace Learning by ASTD; the Porter Award for Best writing in the field of Organization Development; and Training Magazine’s Visionary of the Year. In 2016 David was named as one of the nation’s top thought leaders by Trust Across America, and in that same year he was listed in the field’s highest accreditaion body, as one of “AACSB’s Most Influential Leaders.”

Perhaps his highest honor, Champlain College’s Stiller School of Business honored David’s work with an academic center in his name. It is called the David L. Cooperrider Center for Appreciative Inquiry, and David serves as an Honorary Chair from his “home” at Case Western Reserve University. For the center’s dedication in 2014 Professor Marty Seligman, leading researcher in the human sciences and father of the positive psychology movement wrote: “David Cooperrider is a giant: a giant of discovery, a giant of dissemination, and a giant of generosity.” Likewise Jane Dutton, former President of the Academy of Management and Robert L. Kahn Distinguished University Professor of Business at the University of Michigan said, “David Cooperrider is changing the world with his ideas and who he is as a person. There are few who combine such insight, inspiration and energy.”

Mirror Flourishing: The New Business North Star

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“We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted […]


Business as an Agent of World Benefit

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It was perhaps 20 years ago, yet I remember my first meeting with Willis Harman in vivid color. Fresh out of my doctoral dissertation research on the idea of Appreciative Inquiry, I was taking the next big step, working on an interdisciplinary understanding of the relationship between images of the future and human action in the present, especially the relationship between positive guiding images and the possibilities for positive action in human systems.