Relationally reflexive practice: a generative approach to theory development in qualitative research

Paul Hibbert*, John Sillince, Thomas Diefenbach, Ann L. Cunliffe

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    120 Citations (Scopus)
    1 Downloads (Pure)


    In this article we explain how the development of new organization theory faces several mutually reinforcing problems, which collectively suppress generative debate and the creation of new and alternative theories. We argue that to overcome these problems, researchers should adopt relationally reflexive practices. This does not lead to an alternative method but instead informs how methods are applied. Specifically, we advocate a stance toward the application of qualitative methods that legitimizes insights from the situated life-with-others of the researcher. We argue that this stance can improve our abilities for generative theorizing in the field of management and organization studies.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)278-298
    Number of pages21
    JournalOrganizational Research Methods
    Issue number3
    Early online date11 Mar 2014
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2014


    • Relationality
    • Reflexivity
    • Theory development
    • Methodology
    • Research methods
    • Dialogic action research
    • Organizational-research
    • Social construction
    • Management research
    • Paradigm interplay
    • Multiple paradigms
    • Grounded theory
    • Leadership
    • Knowledge
    • Postmodernism


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