Reflection in action with care workers in emotion work


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Action research;10(3)



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At first glance, ‘reflection in action’ seems like a fairly unambiguous concept. Many will associate the term with Scho¨n (1983) as a central a point in his work was to emphasize the ability to reflect as a prerequisite for organizational learning (Senge, 1990). The purpose of this article is to establish self-reflection in emotion work (Hochschild, 1983) as a building block towards reflection in action and sustainable organizational learning (Herbst, 1974; Kira, 2006). It also aims to show how knowledge of self-reflection through a joint-learning process (Svensson, 2002) in the context of service work (Amble et al., 2003) has been transformed into the sector of elderly care. Far removed from knowledge work in which thinking and fixing thoughts is part of a contemplative tradition (Shotter, 2006), women as care workers in interdisciplinary reflection groups appear to profit from a written log that can be seen as an aid to self-reflection, confidence and robustness, as well as contributing to reflection in action in work with people. The empirical basis for this article is several interactive research projects primarily conducted by Norwegian researchers from WRI, both in private and public service work, during the period from 2000 to 2011 (Amble, 2010; Gjerberg & Amble, 2011a).


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