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Reflective practice as a determinant of performance outcomes in services

Minna Saunila (School of Business and Management, Lappeenranta University of Technology, Lahti, Finland)
Juhani Ukko (School of Business and Management, Lappeenranta University of Technology, Lahti, Finland)

International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences

ISSN: 1756-669X

Article publication date: 16 November 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the outcomes of reflective practices in services. The paper contributes to the current understanding of the relationship between reflective practice and outcomes by presenting a description of the internal (i.e. what kind of reflection is required to attain the desired outcomes) and external (i.e. under what kind of circumstances does reflection result in the desired outcomes) factors of reflective practices.

Design/methodology/approach

The results of this investigation are based on a mixed-method research approach that utilises both quantitative and qualitative data collection methods.

Findings

According to the results, reflective practices are indeed connected to outcomes. Reflective practices foster better outcomes when they are more explicit and targeted through different organisational levels. The role of performance management and measurement is important in connecting the reflective practices with performance. Performance management must be considered as a communication and social system that allows the employees to discuss the learning and development process as a part of the results.

Practical implications

As a practical contribution, the results of the research may help professionals begin to understand that leveraging reflective practices may aid an organisation in achieving its desired outcomes.

Originality/value

Hitherto, studies that discuss the interphase of reflective practices and outcomes have mainly been theoretical considerations or surveys that lack an in-depth understanding of how the different methods operate in a real-life context. When focusing on the previous research, it is clear that in-depth empirical studies are needed to achieve a deeper understanding of the mechanisms and arrangements that connect reflective practice and outcomes. This research addresses this research gap by examining the outcomes of reflective practices in services.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful for the other members of REFINNO research team: Petri Suomala, Sanna Hildén, Sanna Pekkola, Johanna Rämö, Kati Tikkamäki and Sanna Vauranoja, for the insightful and constructive academic discussions which have enabled the multi-disciplinary development of the interpretation of reflective practice. Moreover, funding by the Finnish Agency for Technology has enabled the research and case intervention underlying this publication.

Citation

Saunila, M. and Ukko, J. (2015), "Reflective practice as a determinant of performance outcomes in services", International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences, Vol. 7 No. 4, pp. 392-403. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJQSS-02-2015-0015

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited