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Reflexivity: recursion and relationality in organizational research processes

Hibbert, P.C. and Coupland, C. and MacIntosh, R. (2010) Reflexivity: recursion and relationality in organizational research processes. Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management, 5 (1). pp. 47-62. ISSN 1746-5648

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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.