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Reflective Practice as a Fuel for Organizational Learning

Cost Management Center, Tampere University of Technology, FI-33101 Tampere, Finland
School of Information Sciences/CIRCMI, University of Tampere, FI-33014 Tampere, Finland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Adm. Sci. 2013, 3(3), 76-95;
Received: 11 May 2013 / Revised: 2 July 2013 / Accepted: 11 July 2013 / Published: 16 July 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organizational Learning: Developments in Theory and in Practice)
PDF [549 KB, uploaded 16 July 2013]


Learning theories and their interpretations in management research recognize the role of reflection as a central element in the learning process. There also exists a broad consensus that organizational learning (OL) happens at three intertwined levels of the individual, the group and the organization. This tri-level analysis has been most influentially presented by Crossan, Lane and White (1999), as a premise for their 4I framework of OL. Though the 4I framework builds strongly on existing literature on OL, it does not address the role of reflection as a factor operating between the inputs and outcomes in 4I sub-processes. Though a large body of research exists regarding the notion of reflection and its importance in terms of OL, this has not been discussed in the specific context of the 4I framework. This article contributes to the development of the 4I model by discussing how reflective practice—on three levels and within 4I sub-processes—fuels the OL process. The argumentation is based on an extensive literature review in three dimensions of learning, illustrated with an empirical inquiry into three business organizations and their reflective practice. In addition, the aim is to increase the understanding of reflection as not only an individual or group process, but as an organized practice, enabled by the tools of management control. View Full-Text
Keywords: organizational learning; reflective practice; 4I framework; management control organizational learning; reflective practice; 4I framework; management control

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Hilden, S.; Tikkamäki, K. Reflective Practice as a Fuel for Organizational Learning. Adm. Sci. 2013, 3, 76-95.

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