Taking a risk to develop reflective skills in business practitioners

Margaret Mackay, Alex Tymon

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    Critical reflection can support alternative decision-making in business practice. This paper examines the effectiveness of a risk-based pedagogy to engage practitioners in reflective thinking. Educators adopting a radical pedagogy in professionally accredited programmes face multiple challenges: learners often resist the process of self-reflection and stakeholders expect instrumental outcomes. A longitudinal study of human resource practitioners uses an interpretivist methodology to examine reflection through student-led learning and experiential activity. Findings show that a pedagogical method that overturns learner expectations stimulates dynamic discussion and reflection on experience. Implications are that effective risk-based teaching relies on establishing two conditions: (1) a scaffold structure which supports learner improvisation and (2) a lecturer willingness to continually orchestrate chance elements to maximise learning. This study contributes a practice-based understanding of the theoretical development of risk pedagogy, and adds new insights on the process of facilitating reflective skills to enable business practitioners to confront unpredictable work situations.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)332-351
    JournalJournal of Education and Work
    Issue number3
    Early online date28 Jul 2014
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


    • pedagogy of risk
    • experiential learning
    • critical reflection
    • practitioner skills


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