Reflexivity in organization and management theory: A study of the production of the research 'subject

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Human Relations, 2001, 54 (5), pp. 531 - 560
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In this article, we draw on actor-network theory (ANT) to reflexively investigate the role of the researcher and the research community in the production of a research subject. We review our earlier work, which explores how the dynamics of refugee systems help to produce the research subject - in this case, the refugee. We then use ideas from ANT to move beyond the more conventional institutional and discursive analyses that are used in these articles. We include not just the activities of actors in the refugee system in our analysis, but also our own activities as researchers, as well as those of the broader research community. We use the concept of translation to explore the role of these actors in the processes of social construction that produce refugees as a subject of academic study, which is related to, but distinct from, the 'social' subject produced in the social setting under study. Generalizing from our own research experience, we argue for a reconceptualization of reflexivity in organization and management theory, which moves beyond the common view of heroic individuals struggling to understand and manage their role in their research towards an understanding of reflexivity as involving the research community as a whole.
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