Reflexivity: recursion and relationality in organizational research processes

P.C. Hibbert, C. Coupland, R. MacIntosh

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    19 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose This paper seeks to support a better understanding of the types (or processes) of reflexivity which may be involved in the practice of organizational research, and the implications of reflexive practice for organizational researchers. Design/methodology/approach A characterization of reflexivity as a process is developed from extant research, in four steps. First, the principal dimensions of reflexivity - reflection and recursion - are identified and delineated. Second, recursion is shown to have two modes, active and passive. Third, reflection is show to have both closed, self-guided and open, relation modes. Fourth, through integrating the detailed characterizations of each of the dimensions, different types of relfexivity are identified and defined. Findings The paper shows how different types of reflexivity may be experienced sequentially, as a progressive process, by organizational reseachers. Implications for research practice are derived from a consideration of this process. Originality/value This paper develops a novel conceptualization of reflexivity as a process with individual and relational aspects. This conceptualization supports important insights for the conduct and legitimation of reflexive research.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)47-62
    Number of pages15
    JournalQualitative Research in Organizations and Management
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


    • reflexivity
    • reflection
    • recursion
    • organizational research


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