Circumstances in which Appreciative Inquiry Won't Work
JC de Jong, Director, Netherlands, SIG Leader
AI does work and many, many interventions have proven that. See amongst others the cases in the book of Watkins, Mohr and Kelly "Appreciative Inquiry
It feels that you very much answer your own question as to why change interventions don't work. When there is no earnest and open participation possible all change initiatives will in the long(er) term fail and that goes for AI as well.
We can also say that in such cases AI has not been applied as it is intended to. When you look at the 5 AI principles (see the summary in the AI knowledge center) then it becomes clear that it requires an open and earnest participation of all people (the community, including management) invited to participate in the process.
So far after nearly 20 years of applying AI I can boldly state that whenever this open attitude was applied AI worked.