Capitalising on experience for an evolving era : a reflective practitioner study

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Faculty of Business and Law

First Advisor

Dr Llandis Barratt-Pugh

Second Advisor

Dr Mark Williams

Third Advisor

Dr Scott Gardner


This study is about tapping the under utilised resource of tacit knowledge, embedded in human experience, in tackling the complex challenges of managing a neo-postmodern era. The study shows how this may be achieved by using reflective practice in mining a lifetime of tacit knowledge embedded within the experience of one practitioner. It is an example for others in generating their responses to managing current social dilemmas. Thus, in using reflective practice methodology, the study draws on data from reflection; experience; and, the literature generating a narrative written in the first person. As a method of inquiry, this methodology draws on the traditions of narrative autoethnography, action research and qualitative inquiry principles. It extends the concepts of reflecting-in-action and reflecting-on-action, to provide a focus for-action. The study therefore explores the under utilised resource of tacit knowledge and extends the limited research available in translating this knowledge to an explicit form. This study provides both a narrative analysis and a holistic conceptual model. This model is developed from generic models developed in three social domains - in the classroom; the corporation; and, the community. Through reflective practice, the study identifies six enduring principles common to these models. These principles form the basis of the holistic conceptual model. It is a model that can be used by others to generate explicit knowledge to improve their management of subsequent social interaction. The components of the formalised Models are represented by the mnemonic LEADST. Each letter represents a significant conceptual component: Local design; Entrepreneurship; adherence to Action Research principles; the Dichotomy of content and method; working within existing authority Structures; and, Translating tacit knowledge to explicit knowledge. All focus on devolving responsibility enhancing selfactualisation and system development for increased social cohesion and productivity. The Models, therefore, contribute to the developing participatory and sustainability movements. In essence, the study makes three contributions to existing knowledge. First, it provides descriptive models for others to use in capitalising on the tacit knowledge embedded in their own lived experience to manage current social dilemmas. Second, the study indicates how a combined individual and group translation strategy for reflective practice is more productive than either individual or group strategies in isolation. Third, the study extends reflective practice methodology showing how practice can be used to produce both narrative accounts and pragmatic conceptualisation. The thesis also embraces reflective practice by finally modelling how the review of the text, through the lens of three examiners, aided the re-conceptualisation of critical issues in the development of the study.

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