Finding a reflexive voice : -- researching the problems of implementing new learning practices within a New Zealand manufacturing organisation : a 100pt thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Management in Human Resources Management at Massey University
This study explored the social forces mediating manager's participation in a new reflexive participative learning practice designed to improve profitability within a New Zealand manufacturing organisation. Despite a large theoretical and managerial body of literature on organisational learning there has been little empirical investigation of how people experience and engage their reflexivity towards challenging the status-quo to create high level learning and new knowledge. Power was identified as a potential moderator of the reflexive learning experience and the variable relations of power and learning were constructed from a review of literature and these relationships were explored and investigated within the case study. Two prevailing discourses were identified as powerful moderators of public reflexivity, the traditionalist discourse which constructed managers actions and conversations towards insularism and survivalist concerns and the productionist discourse in which institutionalised production practices encircled and mediated managers actions and what constituted legitimacy in conversations. This study used a critical action research method to place the reflexive experience of managers and the researcher at the centre of the study and provide data representative of the social discourses that constructed variable freedoms and constraints upon the reflexive voice.