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    Inside Reflexive Management Learning in the Workplace: An Ethnographic Study


    Cotter, Richard J. (2015) Inside Reflexive Management Learning in the Workplace: An Ethnographic Study. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    Abstract

    This thesis generates new insights and understandings of the concept of reflexive management learning (RML). To date, most scholarship has taken the form of prescriptive theory suggesting what RML should be and should mean for managers and organisations. In the main, however, RML remains empirically under-theorised and as a result rather detached from real world contexts and from the practitioners that would constitute its intended learning audience. This thesis helps to rebalance the scholarly scales by presenting the results of a two-year reflexive insider’s ethnographic study of RML in the Irish subsidiary of a services industry MNC. This heretofore unavailable methodological vantage point provides a novel perspective on RML which elucidates its highly contextualised character. The concern here has been to make managerial voice in RML clearer and more pronounced. Doing this highlights the need for more political reflexivity in RML theorising: defined as the adequate recognition of the complex role of context in RML and the accompanying need to direct this learning approach towards practice-based concerns which matter to the managers involved, without allowing its inherently critical character to be unduly censored by contact with the organisational status quo. The key findings of this thesis report on how challenging RML is as told through the experiences of the managers involved. But these experiences also portray something which has been less prominent in previous empirical work: RML’s promise-laden potential and despite the difficulties and risks involved, paradoxically even because of them, its ability to translate into reflexive action attempted beyond the learning space. These findings led to, and are articulated in this thesis through, a new theoretical framework for RML which also draws from the work of political theorist Hannah Arendt. Titled the ‘Reflexive Space of Appearance’, this new spatial and political theoretical framework provides RML with a much needed theory of action, or praxis, which can make new contributions to scholarship and practice.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: Reflexive Management Learning; Workplace; Ethnographic Study;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Business
    Item ID: 6322
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 03 Sep 2015 10:46
    URI:

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