Reflexivity as a Vital Skill for Future Researchers and Professionals


  • Anna Kimberley



The emergence of a reflective paradigm in higher education in the last two decades, has been emphasised as a necessary skill both for future business professionals and researchers. The development of these skills should therefore be included in business school curricula. The ability to critically reflect has been identified as a crucial part of employability. This calls for developing pedagogical approaches that will stimulate students’ critical thinking skills, encourage self-review as well as convey practice realities. This paper presents an application of such pedagogical methods applied in a set of course activities aimed specifically at developing reflexivity and self-efficacy of undergraduate business students, within the context of a university of applied sciences. It also demonstrates that the pedagogical solutions applied not only resulted in the desired learning outcomes, but also produced additional benefits to the students. A pedagogical approach was created and incorporated into one semester International Business Communication course taught to undergraduate international business students. It aimed at developing critical thinking skills, and reflexivity. It was incorporated in three activities: (1) introducing the students to the concept of reflexivity (reflecting on reflection), (2) writing reflectively about own cultural identity (reflection in action), (3) story writing and storytelling (reflecting on action). The methodological approach used was qualitative interpretation, and the method applied was narrative analysis of the data generated by reflective narratives created by the students. The findings showed that reflexivity was identified as a new concept, both necessary and helpful in self-development. Reflecting on one’s own cultural identity created different types of awareness, which contributed to developing deeper knowledge about one’s own cultural identity. Reflecting on story writing and storytelling showed the following learning benefits: discovering creative potential, as well as developing confidence in dealing with new, unexpected, and challenging situations. Moreover, the following additional learning benefits were identified: enhanced openness towards the immediate environment, improved understanding of otherness, and the applicability of the above skills for business professionals and researchers.



24 Mar 2021