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Operationalising critically reflective work behaviour

Marianne van Woerkom (Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands)
Marcel Croon (Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands)

Personnel Review

ISSN: 0048-3486

Article publication date: 11 April 2008




The purpose of this paper is to operationalise critical reflection. Although critical reflection is widely recognised as a crucial element in individual and organisational learning, not many instruments exist to measure critical reflection in the context of work organisations.


Critical reflection was operationalised by using a combination of a literature review and a survey.


Critically reflective work behaviour was defined as a set of connected activities carried out individually or in interaction with others, aimed at optimising individual or collective practices, or critically analysing and trying to change organizational or individual values. Based on the survey, an instrument was developed for measuring six dimensions of critically reflective work behaviour, namely, critical opinion‐sharing, asking for feedback, challenging group‐think, openness about mistakes, experimentation and career awareness.

Research limitations/implications

Future research should focus on the predictive validity of the instrument by relating it to performance appraisals from supervisors or to ratings of innovative behaviour. Further research could also focus on inter‐rater reliability by contrasting self‐ratings with ratings from colleagues and supervisors.

Practical implications

In combination with an instrument measuring organisational climate, the instrument may play a role in relating the work behaviour of employees to job characteristics and perceptions of organisational climate.


The concept of critically reflective work behaviour focuses on the role of the behaviour of all employees in the organisation in becoming a learning company.



van Woerkom, M. and Croon, M. (2008), "Operationalising critically reflective work behaviour", Personnel Review, Vol. 37 No. 3, pp. 317-331.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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