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Learning from Friends: Developing appreciations for unknowing in reflexive practice

Allen, Stephen


Stephen Allen


© 2016, © The Author(s) 2016. In this article, I develop a new perspective on being reflexive, which appreciates unknowing as a core aspect. The intention is to promote more inclusive and equitable ways of managing and organising. By drawing on my own and others’ experiences of the ‘business method’ of the Religious Society of Friends, or Quakers, images of the possibilities for reflexive practice, which embrace individual unknowing and help foster systemic intelligence, are explored. A relational ontology is pursued as these ideas can offer a suitable bridge to bring the processes of Quakers into conversation with debates about reflexive practice. The implication is that in the perspective developed, managing reflexively can be understood as a collective practice of searching for unity, or ‘sense of the meeting’, which is achieved through relational processes.


Allen, S. (2017). Learning from Friends: Developing appreciations for unknowing in reflexive practice. Management Learning, 48(2), 125-139.

Acceptance Date Sep 6, 2016
Online Publication Date Oct 19, 2016
Publication Date Apr 1, 2017
Deposit Date Sep 13, 2016
Publicly Available Date Oct 19, 2016
Journal Management learning
Print ISSN 1350-5076
Electronic ISSN 1461-7307
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 48
Issue 2
Pages 125-139
Keywords Group processes; Quakers; Reflexive practice; Reflexivity; Spirituality; Unknowing
Public URL
Publisher URL
Copyright Statement ©2016 University of Hull
Additional Information This is the author's accepted manuscript of an article which has been published in: Management learning, 2016, v.48 issue 2.


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