Reflection and critical reflection in management learning (Introduction…
Reflection and critical reflection in management learning
Growing interest in the management learning literature in a more critical perspective
Drawing on work from critical theorists in adult education
How the principles of critical reflection might be applied to management education practice
The distinction is made between education content (the curriculum) and educational process (methods and structures)
The concept of reflecting particularly reflecting on experience, is central to the theories of learning
Critical theory and critical pedagogy reaches the domain of management or management learning.
Critical reflection is a cornerstone of emancipatory learning. Whereas reflection as a management learning concept is expressed privately as a key element of problem-solving.
There are a number of reasons why critical reflection is not becomes established within management education. Managers are likely to regards with caution a form of analysis which is publicly critical of their privileged position, feel patronised by the high moral ground often taken by critical theorists, or alienated by the vocabulary of struggle and resistance which characterises more critical educationalists writing
There is little translation of the abstractions of critical theory into the everyday practicalities of educational method. The purpose of critical reflection is to examine social processes which most people, most of the time, have the status of unnoticed or unquestioned certainty. Because a function of taken for granted is is to give meaning to our lives, some resistance to questioning them is to be expected.
Emancipatory thinking of this kind does have a history within management education. Learning approaches from Carl Rogers and Malcolm Knowles. Their intentions have been to liberate people from the hierarchical versions of the authority and control
While power and privilege are so unequally distributed it would be important to take on a more critical approach. A critical approach provides possibility of change on the basis of a more realistic analysis of the way things are. Given a societal and global power exercised by managers, it would be worrying indeed if management education and development failed to incorporate a critical perspective
Management learning- the works of David Kolb (implicit) and Donald schon (explicit).
Learning in and from work experience
Learning from the natural occurrences of informal education
Kolb - learning is the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience. This is helped greatly through reflection and sense making which leads onto future action and generates new or modified ideas.
schons - elaborates the process of reflection. Reflecting in action (on the spot) schon believes these have more influence on subsequent behaviour than has in it institutionally based learning
Origins in critical theory
Critical theory has more recently been revised and developed by Jurgen Habermas
The aim of critical theory is to create a just and democratic society through reasons confrontation of the tournament, science influenced rationality which provide glitches means over ends, facts over values
emancipatory interest of autonomy and responsibility
The emancipatory potential of reason to reflect critically on had the reality of the social world, including the construction of the self, is socially produced and, therefore, open to transformation.
Critical theory treats observations and prescriptions on social structures and behaviour as 'interested'rather than neutral, to uncover what has been made obscure and question what others insist should be obvious.(In practice this means that critical theory puts traditional notions of objectivity into question and is constantly alert to attempts to pass off sectional viewpoints as universal, natural, careless, timeless ones.
Critical pedagogy: critical reflection in education
Education should serve the same emancipatory goals
Emancipatory education is based on two principles - language of critique and the language of possibility
Educational process which encourages questioning and a vision of what might be as a means to creating a more democratic society
Critical pedagogy stresses the connectedness of knowledge, power, and domination
Its aim is to bring about social as well as individual betterment
Management education work better if it's to develop a critical tradition of its own instead of outsiders
Reflection and critical compared
Reflection focuses on the media, presenting details of a task or problem
Critical reflection involves an analysis of power and control and an examination of the taken for granted is within which the task or problem is situated
It is concerned with questioning assumptions.
It's focus is social rather than individual
It pays particular attention to the analysis of power relations
It is concerned with emancipation
Reflection and critical reflection in practice
Propositions for critical reflectivity in management learning