Sub-theme 30: Fostering Change for Responsibility: Forms of Reflexivity in Engaged Scholarship [merged with sub-theme 41]


Call for Papers

Organizational change is triggered and accompanied by reflexive practices that take stock of past, present and possible futures. Such triggers for change may be calls for accountability, ethical conduct, corporate social responsibility or sustainability. Such change processes may involve middle managers 'selling' their issues to transform business practices (Howard-Grenville, 2007). Also a crisis can act as a trigger that calls for new modes of learning and practising (Antonacopoulou & Sheaffer, 2014). Change can also result from a critical reflection on intended top-down changes, which prompt people to pursue an alternative vision for change (Courpasson et al., 2012).

Drawing on a practice perspective of management scholarship, we aim to explore how practitioners engage in questioning their own practices, reflecting on their role as professionals and making proposals for change. Reflexivity acts as a cornerstone in ethical decision making guided by practical judgement (phronesis) (Antonacopoulou, 2010). Researching such practical judgements demands that we become engaged scholars who understand the challenges of participating in interventions (van de Ven, 2007).

It also prompts us to be reflective about our approaches so that we do not become complicit in a mere description of the challenges of such change. It is precisely our ability to foster reflexive critique as research partners that marks our most valuable contribution. We aim to explicate what reflexive practice entails and how it forms a critical foundation for change. This focus on reflexive practice provides a fresh lens to appreciate the ways in which changing/becoming takes place (Tsoukas & Chia, 2002; Pässilä et al., 2013).

This sub-theme seeks to understand how such moments of reflexivity come about and how they can be researched and supported through modes of engaged scholar-ship. We invite conceptual and empirical contributions as well as methodological reflections based on ongoing studies or past empirical work, be it intervention studies or non-participant observations of change processes.

Possible questions are:

  • How can reflexive practice be stimulated and what does it take to invite others to re-imagine the future?
  • How can understanding be deepened with the help of symbols, poetic analogies, metaphors, and non-textual action and can these type of radical learning triggers help to imagine possible alternative worlds?
  • How are practices of peer review and dialogue for collective learning established and sustained? Do such practices of organizational learning cultivate responsibility?
  • Is practising reflexivity possible in the wake of organizational scandals, whistleblowers, and negative publicity? What are fundamental elements of radical co-creation and learning methods in the construction of appreciative spaces for reflexive practices?




  • Antonacopoulou, E.P., & Sheaffer, Z. (2014): "Learning in crisis: rethinking the relationship between organizational learning and crisis management." Journal of Management Inquiry, 23 (1), 5–21.
  • Courpasson, D., Dany, F., & Clegg, C. (2012): "Resisters at work: generating productive resistance in the workplace." Organization Science, 23(3), 801–819.
  • Howard-Grenville, J.A. (2007): "Developing issue-selling effectiveness over time: issue selling as resourcing." Organization Science, 18 (4), 560–577.
  • Pässilä, A., Oikarinen, T., & Harmaakorpi, V. (2013): "Collective voicing as a reflexive practice." Management Learning, doi: 1350507613488310, first published on June 28, 2013;
  • Tsoukas, H., & Chia, R. (2002): "On organizational becoming: rethinking organizational change." Organization Science, 13 (5), 567–582.
  • Van de Ven, A.H. (2007): Engaged Scholarship. A Guide for Organizational and Social Research. Oxford: Oxford University Press.