'In search of the structure that reflects': Promoting organizational reflection practices in a UK Health Authority

Davide Nicolini, Mannie Sher, Sarah Childerstone, Mara Gorli*

*Autore corrispondente per questo lavoro

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in libroChapter

20 Citazioni (SciVal)


In recent times, a growing number of authors have emphasized the role of public reflection as the basis for learning and change at all levels in organizations (Reynolds, 1998; Siebert and Daudelin, 1999; Moon, 2000; Raelin, 2001; 2002; Smith, 2001). These authors take the view that the shift from reflection on action towards reflection in action, constitutes a particularly important locus of learning in modem organizations. They identify critical locations where learning at individual, group and organizational levels feed and sustain each other. They also note, however, that current reflections on ‘reflection’, at least in organizational and management studies, have two main limits. Firstly, they often elaborate on the theory and principles of organizational reflection without addressing how this notion can be put to work in practice. Secondly, even when they are practically oriented, these authors often describe experiences that focus on reflection at the individual level rather than at the organizational level. Reynolds (1998) notes that these two limitations tend to reinforce each other. The meaning of reflection is often restricted by an individualised perspective within individual problem-solving activity. However, the reality is that in most situations the individual alone cannot address or solve meta-organizational problems. Such a restricted view of reflection, however, neutralises its capacity to produce learning and change. Individualized, private reflection is incapable of reaching, exposing and affecting the institutionalized assumptions and logic that regulates organizational action, and it is also at risk of being a sterile effort, given that individuals alone are seldom in positions to make substantial organizational changes. (Raelin, 2001; Vince, 2002a). Reflection can become an opportunity for personal growth and organizational transformation only to the extent that it is public, sanctioned, participative and authorized. Effective reflection and questioning organizational assumptions work well when it is a legitimated organizational process and an ‘integral part to organizing, rather than the province of individuals’ (Vince, 2002a, p. 67). Certain organizational conditions have to be put in place for the sum of individual reflection practices to become a trigger for wider organizational change.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteOrganizing Reflection
Numero di pagine24
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2017


  • organizational learning
  • reflection


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