Journal of Appreciative Education

OODA Loops and Appreciative Administration

Keith Proctor


It is challenging for higher education administrators to navigate uncertainty because the effects of the uncertainty often permeate the beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors of all higher education constituents, including faculty, staff, and students. Higher education administrators are dealing with a wide range of uncertainties due to the COVID-19 pandemic, social justice issues, and more. Higher education administrators are challenged to personally reckon with their own uncertainty about how best to proceed while simultaneously helping the people they lead deal with their own uncertainty. One tool that the U.S. military has used to enhance and accelerate proactive decision-making, especially under stressful, uncertain, and ambiguous circumstances, is the OODA (Observation, Orientation, Decision, and Action) loop (Révay & Líška, 2017; Von Lubitz et al., 2008; Ullman, 2007). The purpose of this article is to illustrate the synergy between OODA loops and the six phases of Appreciative Administration (Bloom & McClellan, 2016) and to propose an OODA Loop Appreciative Framework to assist higher education administrators as they navigate these uncertain times.


Appreciative Administration; uncertainty; higher education

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ISSN: 2165-5421