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Reflection as a strategy to improve management practice: Insights from management education

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Orientation: This study examines the role of reflection as a learning strategy for management students and how this process can contribute to developing a cadre of useful and effective managers.Research purpose: Using data from MBA student work, the aim of the study was to explore reflection as a pedagogical strategy to enhance management practice within an emerging market context.Motivation for the study: The development of more rigorous, thoughtful and decision-focussed management is among the challenges facing organisations in South Africa. Within management education, reflection is seen as a potential strategy to address this issue.Research approach, design and method: This qualitative study sampled 513 students’ reflective assignments. Students were given an individual task as a deliberate strategy to reflect on their own learning and provide insight on the benefits and challenges of the process. Coding was conducted along thematic lines.Main findings: The findings showed that students gained self-awareness and insight into their own management and organisational practices. Their application of concepts, tools and techniques was also enhanced, as was their understanding of working with others.Practical implications: Personal growth, transformation and development in terms of current and future management roles were all outcomes of the reflective process. Skills such as probing, analysing and synthesis – all essential to managers – are encouraged through a reflective mindset.Contribution: The findings of this study indicated that a deeper understanding and improved clarity of management and organisational practices ensued as an outcome of the reflective process.
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Acta Commercii - Independent Research Journal in the Management Sciences
ISSN: (Online) 1684-1999, (Print) 2413-1903
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Author:
Linda Ronnie1
Aliaon:
1Graduate School of Business,
University of Cape Town,
South Africa
Corresponding author:
Linda Ronnie,
linda.ronnie@gsb.uct.ac.za
Dates:
Received: 16 Apr. 2016
Accepted: 13 July 2016
Published: 23 Sept. 2016
How to cite this arcle:
Ronnie, L., 2016, ‘Reecon
as a strategy to improve
management pracce:
Insights from management
educaon’, Acta Commercii
16(1), a392. hp://dx.doi.
org/10.4102/ac.v16i1.392
Copyright:
© 2016. The Authors.
Licensee: AOSIS. This work
is licensed under the
Creave Commons
Aribuon License.
Introducon
The potential for using reflection to improve understanding or provide further insight for
management students has been suggested for some time (Inamdar & Roldan 2013; Kayes 2002;
Mintzberg 2004, 2011; Raelin 2001; Reid & Anderson 2012). The practice is even more important
when coupled with the intent to encourage critical thought within increasingly complex
organisational environments in an emerging market context. In this article, I discuss the use of
reflection as a pedagogical strategy for Master of Business Administration (MBA) students and
examine how reflection and reflective practice can contribute to developing a cadre of useful and
effective managers. Management education needs more than theoretical competence combined
with insight from practice. If we agree with Rousseau (2012:616) that ‘the greatest opportunity to
fundamentally change management lies in the education of new generations of management’, then
the educational space needs to allow for this change. The experience in the classroom should
encourage students to contemplate, shift their perspectives and increase their capabilities to describe
and explain their decisions and actions. The kind of manager that a business school should produce
needs to be able to ‘reflect upon different ways of knowing and understanding their own conditions
as South Africans in a transnational world’ (Nkomo 2015:27). Reflection is thus positioned as an
increasingly valuable skill for managers. Coupled with findings that those who develop reflective
skills have enhanced learning capacity (Fullana et al. 2016; Lombardo & Eichinger 2000), this
establishes the importance of using reflection as a pedagogical tool within management education.
Reecon: Concepts and perspecves
“Reflection” has been described as an active and on-going consideration of our beliefs and
knowledge (Dewey 1991); an exploration of our experiences (Boud, Keogh & Walker, 2005); and
a form of purposeful mental processing (Moon 2004). Reflection may also be used to integrate
Orientation: This study examines the role of reflection as a learning strategy for management
students and how this process can contribute to developing a cadre of useful and effective
managers.
Research purpose: Using data from MBA student work, the aim of the study was to explore
reflection as a pedagogical strategy to enhance management practice within an emerging
market context.
Motivation for the study: The development of more rigorous, thoughtful and decision-
focussed management is among the challenges facing organisations in South Africa. Within
management education, reflection is seen as a potential strategy to address this issue.
Research approach, design and method: This qualitative study sampled 513 students’
reflective assignments. Students were given an individual task as a deliberate strategy to
reflect on their own learning and provide insight on the benefits and challenges of the process.
Coding was conducted along thematic lines.
Main findings: The findings showed that students gained self-awareness and insight into their
own management and organisational practices. Their application of concepts, tools and
techniques was also enhanced, as was their understanding of working with others.
Practical implications: Personal growth, transformation and development in terms of current
and future management roles were all outcomes of the reflective process. Skills such as probing,
analysing and synthesis – all essential to managers – are encouraged through a reflective mindset.
Contribution: The findings of this study indicated that a deeper understanding and improved
clarity of management and organisational practices ensued as an outcome of the reflective process.
Reecon as a strategy to improve management
pracce: Insights from management educaon
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theory with practice (Mezirow 1991); broaden perspectives
through interrogating ambiguous conditions (Kayes 2002);
achieve self-understanding (Marsick 1988; Ryan & Ryan
2013); and improve academic performance (Lew & Schmidt
2011; Tsingos, Bosnic-Anticevich & Smith 2015). It is also
considered helpful in transitioning classroom practice to the
work environment (Francis & Cowan 2008; Heel, Sparrow &
Ashford 2006). These explanations suggest that reflection has
the potential to enhance our understanding, to provide new
meanings and insights and to speak to issues central to the
development of managers within an emerging market
context.
Reecon-in-acon and reecon-on-acon
There are a number of different forms of reflection. These
include reflection-in-action and reflection-on-action (Schön
1983). Reflection-in-action is a process whereby individuals
indulge in mindful, in-the-moment reflection to deal with
challenges and ambiguities occurring in the present time. It
involves individuals thinking about what they are doing
while they are doing it. Reflection-on-action, the focus of this
paper, is well described by Raelin (2001:11) as ‘the practice of
periodically stepping back to ponder the meaning [of] what
has recently transpired’. This typically occurs after an event
as a retrospective act and is consciously undertaken. This
form of reflection is not without criticism. Dohn (2011)
suggests that this form of detached reflection can create
secondary representational practices, while Fenwick (2009) is
concerned with the static and separate nature of the process.
These concerns can be offset through the promotion of
double-loop learning.
Double-loop learning involves reflecting on our actions,
analysing such knowledge and exploring our assumptions
and theories-in-use (Argyris 2002). This form of learning
results in new insights and a shift in values and assumptions.
Brockbank and McGill (1998) advocate double-loop learning
for postgraduate students. Within the management education
context, this form of learning would enable students to have
a more critical perspective regarding their roles in the
workplace and would promote the ability to acquire new
information, to critique and, over the long term, to potentially
diminish any dysfunctional behaviours.
Encouraging student reecon in management
educaon
Several scholars support the need for critical reflection among
students (Boud et al. 1985; Rarieya 2005; Schön 1987),
highlighting that self-reflection has, at its heart, the intention
to improve student learning, encourage critical thought
(Francis & Cowan 2008; Mezirow 1991; Reid & Anderson
2012) and stimulate deep-level learning outcomes (Garcia
2010). Indeed, as Cranton and Carusetta (2004) explain, self-
reflection speaks to encouraging student authenticity.
Reflective practice is regarded as an essential managerial
competence as the work environment grows increasingly
complex (Hibbert 2012; Mintzberg 2004). Management
students need to learn to be more thoughtful and aware,
make meaningful connections between what they do and
how and what they learn, and see the potential for active and
ongoing learning. Reflection has the potential to develop a
new understanding of the world and an ability to change
management practice. In essence, the management student
should critique his or her own taken-for-granted assumptions
and become more receptive to different ways of thinking,
being and behaving (Gray 2007). This occurs when, during
reflection, we examine our experiences and the way in which
we act, respond and learn (Pavlovich, Collins & Jones 2009;
Rolfe, Freshwater & Jasper 2001; Wong 2016).
The process of reflection is quite complex and personal, as
Daudelin (1996:39) explains:
When a person engages in reflection, he or she takes an
experience from the outside world, brings it inside the mind,
turns it over, makes connections to other experiences, and filters
it through personal biases. If this process results in learning, the
individual then develops inferences to approach the external
world in a way that is different from the approach that would
have been used, had reflection not occurred.
Several authors have suggested that reflection occurs along a
depth continuum, ranging from fairly shallow description to
more nuanced levels (Bell et al. 2011; Grossman 2008). Indeed,
as Nolan and Sim (2011) argue, the process of completing a
reflective task does not in itself ensure that reflection extends
beyond the descriptive or that it does indeed take place.
Other criticisms note that the depth of student engagement
with the task affects the levels of complexity, depth and
criticality (Hibbert 2012; Kreber & Castleden 2009). These
statements indicate that the ability for self-reflection is
unlikely to be innate for many and thus students need to be
assisted to develop this capacity. Moon (2006) believes that, if
the reflective task is purposeful and requires students to
exhibit evidence of learning or behavioural shifts, then it is
more likely to engage students. This raises the role of the
educator in the process. For reflective practice within the
management education sphere to be effective, some form of
scaffolding of the process (Carrington & Selva 2010; McIntosh
2010) is required to develop appropriate cognitive capacities
and to encourage a shift in reactions and behaviours.
Methods
Research context
A paired assignment, an assessment required on one of
the core courses on the MBA programme, provided an
opportunity to facilitate a reflective exercise. For this
assignment, students were randomly assigned to pairs. They
completed a company investigation on a self-chosen area of
people management over a 6-week period. The pair were
expected to compile a 12-page report on the process that
included problem identification, a literature review, data
collection, analysis and a set of practical but theoretically
supported recommendations. Following Hedberg (2009), I
assigned an individual reflective task as a deliberate strategy
to extend the students’ cognitive repertoire. Students were
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required to complete a one-page reflective note at the
completion of the assignment to reflect on their own learning
and provide some insight on the benefits and challenges of the
paired process. In order to ensure engagement with the
individual reflective assignment, credits were allocated to the
task. The task itself was structured in a way that allowed
students to describe their individual experiences and to work
through feelings that might have shaped their interpretations,
with the purpose of making sense of new learning and insights
(Boud, Keogh & Walker 2005). In particular, I wanted to avoid
students following a checklist through a predetermined set of
questions, as this ran the risk of the reflective process being
understood as linear, completed mechanically and remaining
uncritical (Boud & Walker 1998).
Ethical consideraons
Students were approached to participate in the study after
the assessment process for the course was completed and
their marks had been communicated to them. Therefore no
student felt compelled to be part of the study. As part of the
ethical process, students were approached via an email
request to participate in the study. A total of 66 students
declined to participate. The extracts used to illustrate the
various themes in the findings have all been assigned
pseudonyms. Thus no student can be identified and their
confidentiality is respected. Ethical permission was granted
by the university within which the students were based at the
time of the study.
Data analysis
The reflective papers of 513 students across eight cohorts
spanning 4 years were analysed. Each anonymous paper
was between one and a half and three pages in length. Each
paper was reviewed using a thematic analysis technique
drawn from Ryan and Bernard (2003). This ensured some
flexibility in data coding. Given that the data were in
qualitative form, each ‘unit of meaning’ was identified
through key storylines in each student dataset. Although
time-consuming, to ensure reliability of the analytic process
and thus the emerging themes, I trained two raters, who
revisited the student papers and coded independently. We
discussed any differences and revised categories and
recoded extracts where appropriate. Using these methods,
I then clustered extracts from the data under significant
thematic categories. Categories developed quantitatively as
I subsequently looked at the frequency of responses to
determine the overarching themes.
Results and discussion
Several key themes emerged from the data, with the most
significant ones discussed in this section. The first was insight
into self and own management practice; the second was
enhanced insight into organisational practice; the third was
the application of concepts, tools and techniques; and the
final theme was working with others. Table 1 shows the
number of student comments per theme. As the majority of
the sample made several observations regarding their
insights and learning areas, the percentages shown relate to
the sum of comments made rather than the number of student
papers.
Insight into self and own management pracce
Unsurprisingly, given the nature of the assignment task, the
most frequently mentioned theme in the reflection papers
indicated a level of self-insight and enhanced awareness of
the student’s current or future management practices. Insight
into these aspects was seen in the following comments:
‘As a leader of the organisation I have been complicit in
the performance management practices and was a part of the
disconnected senior management. I have learned that the
opinions of all employees count and that I need to listen more.’
(Participant 355)
‘I realised that I will never know it all and that only the
willingness to expand my horizon and to evaluate my
management style against different situations will continue to
make learning possible.’ (Participant 162)
‘Having critically analysed the management practices at the
organisation made me realise the important qualities I need to
possess in order to be an effective leader.’ (Participant 200)
‘This process immediately got me reflecting on my own
leadership style, and I was left recalling numerous occasions and
incidents and thinking about whether I could have in fact acted
differently to affect the result.’ (Participant 15)
Students highlighted the importance of ‘keeping an open
mind’ and being open to new ways of thinking and new
ideas. This, they argued, would help them grow as people
and ensure that they were continuously learning and
improving themselves as managers.
‘No matter how well you think you are doing things, if you look
hard enough, you will find a way to improve. You must then be
willing to make those improvements and not be upset that
someone has found fault in what you are already doing, and rather
see it as an opportunity to learn and the chance to develop.’
(Participant 367)
‘I have made significant progress in being open to other people’s
suggestions and contributions. I have also made a good progress
in developing trust and confidence in another’s ability to do a
good job. These are all skills needed in my job as a manager.’
(Participant 248)
‘One of the greatest challenges of this MBA is making sure you
do not leave what you learn by the wayside, as you are simply
too busy to think about how to implement it in your work and in
your life – I was reminded of that again now. It’s something I
must remember to focus on for the duration of the programme or
a lot of this effort will have been wasted.’ (Participant 202)
TABLE 1: Student response categorisaon.
Theme Number and percentage
of student comments
Insight into self and own management pracce 479 (31.1%)
Improved insight into organisaonal pracces 443 (28.8%)
Applicaon of management concepts, tools and
techniques
364 (23.7%)
Working with others 251 (16.3%)
Source: Author’s own work
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‘I will need to mature as a leader and being one means that I have
learnt and will still continue to learn most of my competencies as
a leader ‘on the job’ as I get exposed to different situations and
circumstances.’ (Participant 343)
These extracts reveal that students exhibited a level of
awareness of their own leadership and management styles
and were able to think about future actions where they might
behave differently. I would argue that this shows that double-
loop learning can be encouraged in management students
through a reflective writing exercise.
Improved insight into organisaonal pracces
In the second most cited aspect in their reflections, students
considered the benefits of a fresh view on practice:
‘I feel I gained valuable insight into an organisation that I
presumed I understood but did not.’ (Participant 18)
‘I always thought that the people management problems are
faced by big multinational companies where maintaining
communication is the biggest challenge. It never crossed my
mind that a small organisation of six to seven employees would
also face problems in communication and eventually people
management issues.’ (Participant 352)
‘Conducting the investigation gave me the opportunity to learn
what my colleagues feel about the firm and understand what are
the intentions or lack thereof of certain systems and procedures.
For example, it was eye opening to learn that the appraisal
system was not really developed with the intention to drive
performance but rather as an attempt to measure some
components of performance.’ (Participant 488)
The process of linking theory to practice in the assignment
task triggered emotions and engaged students in an
additional level of learning, as identified by Yorks and Kasl
(2002):
‘As I did the interviews I recognised information and knowledge
that I had learnt in a very theoretical manner. When I saw it in
practice it was invigorating.’ (Participant 167)
‘I have learned that solving real world problems is much more
complex than solving a one or two dimensional case study in
class.’ (Participant 365)
‘By just asking people their thoughts and opinions you are
unlocking a world of knowledge from which to learn. This
amazed me.’ (Participant 402)
For the assignment, students could choose to investigate the
practices of an organisation where they were employed or
had been employed. The advantage of having a fresh
perspective from a fellow student unacquainted with a
context familiar to one of the pair proved invaluable:
‘Having my partner and more importantly his biased/unclouded
view of the organisation was hugely informative, enlightening
and interesting. I believe that doing this project by myself I
would have found it to be very difficult to come in with his fresh
view.’ (Participant 12)
‘My partner acted as an excellent barometer during the analysis.
She contributed learnings from her own organisation and
advised which processes she considered valuable and which
required revision. Furthermore, she helped identify possible
improvement areas.’ (Participant 297)
On occasion, students expressed the views that this
experience was disconcerting and uncomfortable, citing
trouble with remaining impartial and noting taken-for-
granted assumptions about their organisations. In contrast,
comparisons between organisations were inadvertently
made at times, with students feeling fortunate to be working
at their companies when learning of some of the challenges
faced by their assignment partner.
Applicaon of management concepts, tools and
techniques
The third theme was that of applying concepts and techniques,
not only from the core course but drawn from across the MBA
programme. The ability to apply research tools and techniques
was commonly cited, ranging from aspects such as
questionnaire design, to focussing on the lengthy process of
compiling a literature review and the presentation of findings:
‘The most appealing aspect of this study was that I was able to
relate the research methods being taught in class with practical
experience.’ (Participant 163)
‘I learnt how important it was to structure questionnaires in a
way that the answers flow from one to another.’ (Participant 211)
‘I need a lot more practice in conducting qualitative interviews
before I undertake my dissertation.’ (Participant 255)
‘I had never really understood the value of a thorough literature
review until this assignment.’ (Participant 335)
‘Combining all the literature to make an argument was
challenging, but also very insightful.’ (Participant 240)
‘I enjoyed the analysis of the findings and grouping trends. My
assignment partner is fairly handy with analysis tools in MS
Excel and consequently I learnt one or two useful things which I
will apply in my everyday presentations.’ (Participant 419)
Students also described how their subject-specific knowledge
had been enhanced through the assignment process:
‘I learnt a huge amount about incentives and motivation; I
otherwise would never have thought of sourcing articles to find
evidence.’ (Participant 363)
‘I have had new insights in the topic of high-performance work
practices and how these practices influence individual and
organisational performance.’ (Participant 58)
‘The assignment significantly deepened my understanding of
and around the subject of multiculturalism, diversity and
inclusion.’ (Participant 165)
‘What I really understood after this assignment was that most
people management problems can be eliminated through
good internal communication, periodic training and
development of staff, and engaging employees in decision
making.’ (Participant 285)
It would be surprising for students not to have experienced a
deeper appreciation of the subject matter covered in the
course curriculum. These extracts show that application of
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classroom material encourages a deeper level of learning and
allows students to develop meaning from their experience.
As all the MBA students in the study had a minimum of 3
years’ work experience and an undergraduate degree, it was
also an opportunity to ‘resuscitate buried skills’ (Participant
222), with the assignment ‘waking up long forgotten skills of
research and literature reviews conducted 8 years ago during
undergraduate and postgraduate degrees’ (Participant 508).
Working with others
Due to the paired nature of the assessment, the students
articulated various levels of anxiety regarding teamwork
and collaboration. Students are accustomed to being assessed
on their own efforts (Boud, Cohen & Sampson 1999) and are
often expected to learn alone and compete rather than
collaborate with their peers (Baldwin 2000). Furthermore, the
tension regarding peer work is exacerbated within the context
of competitive programmes like the MBA. The tension
implicit in the process was, in the words of the students,
‘quite nerve racking’ (Participant 33) and ‘approached with
dread and anxiety’ (Participant 406).
Even though the students were paired with their classmates,
the random selection process meant that they were likely to
be paired with someone other than friends or their traditional
group members:
‘My pair was a completely different person compared to what I
initially thought. It was a great journey as I discovered a great
person with a great life history and a completely different
perspective. What a brilliant mind.’ (Participant 216)
‘Working with a partner made me realise that I was not as
particular and detailed in my work as I had thought.’
(Participant 140)
‘My paired partner is very accommodating and would listen to
my ideas and challenge me where appropriate. We sometimes
had a difference of opinion on how to approach the paper, but
each was mindful of the other and there was consensus before
the document was finalised.’ (Participant 389)
Although these were in the minority, some of the paired
experiences were less than positive:
‘My partner missed several deadlines to share critical
components of the work that he had been responsible for, and
as the quality of the work he had shared was not in my opinion
of MBA standard, my trust in him quickly started waning.’
(Participant 79)
‘I have always believed (and have been told) that I work very
well with people. Unfortunately, I realised during this experience
that while I work well with most people, some people do not
work well together. Although I found it difficult to work with my
pair, I reminded us both of our goal in order to keep focus.’
(Participant 411)
Students developed various strategies in order to function
optimally through utilising different effective ways of
communication and identified the best method to address
misconceptions and misunderstanding. For example, as
Participant 362 reported, ‘we split the work out between each
other and the delegation process went well, better than it
might have gone in such a situation’.
Implicaons
The intention of the reflective exercise was to critically
prompt students to think about their experiences in
completing an assignment with a partner. The research
findings showed that students were able to reflect in varying
degrees on a number of pertinent issues related to their
actions, organisational realities, their managerial and
leadership roles, and the process of working with a randomly
selected partner. Although the references were quite
generalised in some instances, students did refer to future
practice and the intent to approach situations differently in
the future.
As many authors have suggested, reflection has the capacity
to reinforce learning; it can be argued for that alone it has the
potential to be a useful pedagogical process. For students in
the study, it allowed for personal growth, transformation
and development especially in terms of their current and
future management roles. The ability to self-manage is what
Gosling and Mintzberg (2004) describe as ‘the reflective
mindset’, which is the ability to see both ways: through
their own behaviour and beyond the immediate condition.
Completing the paired assignment allowed students an
opportunity for the discovery of new knowledge and skills
that changed their attitude about the way they intended
to conduct themselves in the future, particularly in their
managerial roles.
The MBA students gained renewed perspectives on practices
within their own and other organisations. Beyond assisting
managers with making sense of their own experiences, this
exposure builds new knowledge and leadership competency
that can only benefit both managers and their organisations.
Many students spoke about the fresh look at current
organisational practices through both the data collection
process and in reviewing how literature portrayed the
concepts. This enabled students to see things in a different
light and observe their organisations’ shortcomings as well
as the areas in which they excelled. The emotive aspects of
reflection also surfaced through student descriptions where
drive, willingness, passion, involvement and motivation
were all mentioned.
A deeper understanding and improved clarity of the subject
matter being learnt across the programme was expressed by
a large percentage of the students. Although this kind of
reflection has been described by Hedberg (2009) as a basic
kind of learning, it can kick-start the reflective process and is
therefore essential. Ultimately, active application is vital to
both learning and retention of key concepts, tools and
techniques (Ryan 2013; Townsend, Linder & Williams 2005).
What becomes clear is that MBA students in this study were
able to apply techniques taught in the classroom in a real-
world setting, thereby enhancing their understanding and
usage of these skills.
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The experience of working with a partner in an assessed
piece of academic work places strain on the relationship, as
several of the students noted. However, for many others, this
form of collaboration yielded unexpected insights into the
student’s own abilities and personality as well as awareness
of the role of the other. Where students learn from and with
each other in an academic milieu, skills such as teamwork,
communication and cooperation are promoted. These
benefits can also offset the possible limitations inherent in the
reflective process. Although Seibert and Daudelin (1999) say
that there is a tendency towards single-loop learning for
managers even when they are made aware of this inclination,
Cardno (2007) notes that these skills can be learnt, practised
and productively applied by those in leadership positions. In
the case of the MBA students in the study, I would argue that
the experience of the peer assessment moderated the
tendency to engage in single-loop learning and promoted the
full potential of double-loop learning.
Limitaons
Two criticisms of this study can be made. The first concerns the
obligatory nature of the reflection exercise. As some authors
claim, the process cannot be imposed, as higher-order cognitive
processes and a level of complexity are required; however as
Coulson and Harvey (2013) and McIntosh (2010) suggest,
reflection can be taught though careful scaffolding and support.
The reflection task designed for these students satisfied Boud
and Walker’s (1998) proposal regarding non-mechanical, non-
linear and critical processes and thus an attempt was made to
address this aspect through avoiding a checklist for students to
follow. The second drawback of the study relates to the first.
It should be acknowledged that as the reflective exercise was an
explicit assessment requirement, this may have caused some
students to simply comply with the task on a superficial level.
Here I would submit that not assessing the task could have sent
the message that the student effort was not being recognised
appropriately. Frequent comments in their reflective papers
showed students being appreciative of the exercise in terms of
the opportunity to document their own learning.
Conclusion
Business schools need to create an environment that encourages
reflection through probing, analysing, synthesising and
struggling with issues (Albert & Grzeda 2015; Gosling &
Mintzberg 2004). This ensures that management learning and
teaching is supplemental to students’ own experiences. As
educators we should subscribe to and promote contemplative
learning processes such as reflection. Shifting the tacit self-
knowledge of students into concrete plans for improvement has
the potential to increase the value gained from the learning
process (Mavin & Roth 2014; Smith & Pilling 2007; Thompson &
Pascal 2012). What the findings of this study suggest is that
MBA students who do critically reflect show more application
of classroom concepts and techniques, more engagement with
the task, are able to critique their own management identity and
practices, and appear to be more present in and aware of their
learning processes. If we wish to encourage critical thought and
to acknowledge how essential that would be in developing
more rigorous, thoughtful and decision-focussed management
in South Africa, then the double-loop learning implicit in the
reflection process should be encouraged. This compels
management educators to create learning opportunities where
managers begin to grasp the importance of rethinking why and
how they lead. It is a messy, ambiguous and hectic world that
managers inhabit and those who practise reflection and know
how to learn from their own experiences are better placed to
deal with this environment (Mintzberg 2011). We need to share
the concepts and techniques of reflection with our students as
the practice is an essential tool in the pedagogical process that
supports on-going management development (Hedberg 2009).
These skills are even more desirable within South African
organisations given the current challenges of transformation,
change and developmental priorities.
Acknowledgements
I would like to thank Romy Hermans who assisted with the
independent coding of the data.
Compeng interests
The author declares that she has no financial or personal
relationships that may have inappropriately influenced her
in writing this article.
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... Additionally, reflection is the necessary bridge in the learning process. Reflection takes place when a student is involved in a service-learning experience (Fowler, 2015;Ronnie, 2016). Therefore, to facilitate greater cohesion between nursing as a discipline and the community practice of nursing, students reflective teaching was applied in this study. ...
... Reflection can be considered as involving reasoning, thinking, problem-solving, inquiry or reviewing of practices (Laws, 2016). Reflection is seen as the necessary bridge in the learning process that takes place when a student is involved in a servicelearning experience (Fowler, 2015;Ronnie, 2016). ...
... Also, some suggestions from group members and instructors led the students to find new solutions. The findings were congruent with a study in South Africa that found that students who were given an individual task as a deliberate strategy to reflect on their learning had gained self-awareness and insight into their management and organisational practices (Ronnie, 2016). ...
... Additionally, reflection is the necessary bridge in the learning process. Reflection takes place when a student is involved in a service-learning experience (Fowler, 2015;Ronnie, 2016). Therefore, to facilitate greater cohesion between nursing as a discipline and the community practice of nursing, students reflective teaching was applied in this study. ...
... Reflection can be considered as involving reasoning, thinking, problem-solving, inquiry or reviewing of practices (Laws, 2016). Reflection is seen as the necessary bridge in the learning process that takes place when a student is involved in a servicelearning experience (Fowler, 2015;Ronnie, 2016). ...
... Also, some suggestions from group members and instructors led the students to find new solutions. The findings were congruent with a study in South Africa that found that students who were given an individual task as a deliberate strategy to reflect on their learning had gained self-awareness and insight into their management and organisational practices (Ronnie, 2016). ...
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