Using the Participatory Approach
The Participatory Approach is designed for investigations with circumstantial evidence or when your subject might have an excuse, explanation or some type of alibi that may or may not be true.
The strategy is engineered to conceal the primary topic of your conversation, or at least delay discussing the target of the conversation. For example, you believe an employee violated the discount policy; you need to determine if they understand the policy. You shouldn’t walk in the room and ask them directly about the transactions because they have an incentive to lie to you. Instead, you delay that topic and start the conversation talking about other related topics; what they do on any given day for instance. Then you talk about working on the cash register, and the conversation eventually gets led down a path where they talk about the discount policy.
One of the great benefits about using the Participatory Approach is that it’s a fact-finding interview that allows the subject to contribute to the conversation. Through this approach you might realise that there is no intent and it becomes a training opportunity. Or you might realise there is intent and they provide incriminating statements that allows you to transition into a non-confrontational WZ interview.
The Participatory Approach is a useful interview strategy for a variety of issues from audit, compliance, human resources, theft, and even cases in the public sector.