Developing Reflexive Practitioner Reflection

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Developing Reflexive Practitioner Reflection

Part A: Introduction and Research Design

Research aim

The aim of this research is to make sense of feelings and emotions. In any practice, emotions and feelings are significant in that they can affect the decision-making process. When a decision has to observe fairness and ethical practice as prescribed in the code of conducts, emotions and feelings have been seen to play a significant part. However, emotions and feelings have for long been regarded as irrational and impulsive in decision making. However, the fact is that emotions and feelings are part of individuals and are applied in decision making both consciously and unconsciously. Making sense of one’s feelings and emotions in regard to practice is a step towards effective and ethical practice.

Research context

My future aspiration is to be a manager, and this forms the basis for this research. Being a manager involves controlling, directing, planning and staffing, all of which involves decision-making. Currently, I make various life and everyday decisions involving different aspects, and while at times, I feel that emotions and feelings do not affect my decision, I fail to grasp the power of unconscious feelings and emotions. Emotion s are feelings are important in that they can motivate one to achieve specific goals or make specific decisions. Making sense of my feelings and emotions will help in identifying who I really am and what kind of a manger I am building up to be.

The code of practice for managers has several values and behaviours that managers are expected to observe. First, managers are expected to behave in an honest, open and trustworthy manner. This involves being accountable to decisions and disclosing personal interests as well as being truthful. Another expected behaviour is respecting fellow employees in the workplace. This involves supporting and encouraging colleagues to enhance and promote best practices. The other value is creating a positive impact on society. Treating others with respect and balancing the needs of all stakeholders while still valuing personal responsibilities is significant for an aspiring manager.

It is thus significant to make sense of my feelings and emotions to be able to fully make sense of who I am and acquire emotional intelligence. The ability to manage and understand one’s emotions and feelings as well as those of others is significant for managers (George, 2000). Ethical practice, as prescribed as part of the managers’ code of conduct, requires specific actions when faced with specific ethical concerns. Ethical practice is not circumstantial in that no circumstances can make an unethical action ethical. Take, for example, a manager stealing company’s money because he/she has a sick child in the hospital. The action of staling does not become unethical because the intention is good. What matters is the action and not the intention. This is why making sense of one’s emotions and feelings is practical for ethical practice.

Approaching this reflection as a literature review

The recognition of Journalising as a significant way of reflective writing will be at the core of this reflection, and it will present a way of learning from held assumptions to the unknown and finally making sense of who I am including my values, beliefs, behaviours and what I understand about my boundaries and role as a manager. the purpose of the reflection is to make sense of my feelings and emotions by identifying gaps in the explicit knowledge I have about how my emotions and feelings affect my decision making as well as make sense of my professional behaviours as a manager.

Writing through the mirror is an approach is a good way of reflection and ensures that learning occurs continuously. While reflection helps professionals connect with their experiences and observations and abstract some knowledge and meaning, writing through the mirror is an approach that will ensure that I evaluate my unconscious assumptions and bias to be able to consider gaps in knowledge and finally understand my feelings, values, believes and emotions to make sense of professional behaviours.

In this reflection, I will employ the use of self-Awareness diagnostic more so emotional intelligence as well as values inventory. Emotional intelligence is the capacity to control, be aware and express one’s emotions to handle interpersonal relationships empathetically and intelligently. Feelings and emotions can influence decision making, but when one is aware of such emotions and feelings and is able to control them, then it is contemporary easy to make professional decisions that are ethical and at par with the code of conduct. For my aspiration to be a manager, the ability to make decisions that are ethical, culturally sensitive and professionally correct requires controlling one’s feelings about the decision issues and applying professional practice.

I will thus explore how I can acquire emotional intelligence by writing through the mirror to identify what I know about my emotions and what I need to know and finally acquire self-awareness. Being self-aware involves recognising how your life experiences, your culture and your positionality has been created and developed. I will thus explore my experiences, culture and positionality by writing through the mirror to understand and resume responsibility for actions. the idea is to learn and increase knowledge on how emotion and feelings affect learning and decision making. Kolb (1984) acknowledged that emotions play a significant role in the learning process.

Learning as recognised by Felten, Gilchrist and Darby (2006) argue that learning is a single specialised empire of human functioning such as perception. It involves the integration of feeling, thinking, behaving and perceiving, which makes emotion a catalyst to rational thought. Emotional intelligence is thus not only useful in ensuring there are positive interpersonal relationships but also in ensuring there is rational thought. Through reflection, one is able to identify any gaps in knowledge and actions and derive actions that need to be undertaken to acquire desired values and traits. It is through gaining self-awareness that I can recognise how my perceptions, assumption and biases affect the day-to-day behaviours as well as how I view myself as an individual.

Research Design, Methodology and Method

Research design

The research design applied in this reflection is the bricolage approach. Bricolage refers to a way of mixing both qualitative methods and thinking to be able to address specific issues. The term bricoleur translates to ‘a jack of all trades’ and the bricolage approach is an eclectic and pragmatic approach to qualitative research. As argued by Glasper and Rees (2016), bricolage as a research approach presents findings in a way that challenges the audience to see the subject matter in an offbeat, irregular or unexpected way. Bricolage data can contain both existing data and new data collected for the study itself. It involves the use of more than one source of data with a conscious organization of all research materials within the final text.  It allows a chunk of data with their own meanings to be collected and when combined, create a more meaningful piece of work (Yardley 2019).

This approach is useful for this paper in that it will enable me to collect data from different sources n then bring it together to form meaning. By first thinking and focusing on my feelings and emotions around my behaviours and professional practice, I will be able to identify my unconscious assumptions and biases. Next, I will focus on the literature on how emotions and feelings affect decision-making and personal values. By then collecting more information from reflective thinking and observations to be able to identify the knowledge gap and by combining the different data come up with disparate evidence (Yardley 2019). With continued emersion into the data, I can then be able to come up with a model of emotions and feelings, enabling me to achieve self-awareness. By visiting each of the research stages anytime I want through reflection, I will be able to make sense of the data.

Research method

I will employ the Johari window model as the research methodology. The model is necessary for individuals looking to improve self-awareness as well as personal development. It is used to enhance the individual’s perception of other people. The self-awareness diagnostic approach gives the reflector an understanding of identity by looking at how one sees oneself and the perceptions of other people. The Johari windows thus enable one to open up to others and seek their feedback and in the process self-aware. The Johari window has four quadrants, as presented below.

Fig 1: Johari window model

Source: (Oliver, S. and Duncan 2019)

The open area includes information about a person such as attitudes, emotions, feelings, skills and behaviours that are known by the person as well as by other people. Communication occurs in this area, and thus it is significant for the area to be larger. The idea is thus to increase the arena by reducing the other quadrants by continuous feedback solicitation. The blind spot quadrant has information known by others and unknown to the person. This is because how one sees themselves can be different from how others perceive them. Seeking feedback will thus reduce the blind spot by increasingly identifying how other people see oneself.

The hidden area is the information known to oneself but will be kept hidden to other people. This can contain any information that one feels is sensitive or personal to share. It can include past feelings, emotions, secrets and fears (Oliver and Duncan 2019). However, such information affects a relationship, which explains why it is kept secret and thus needs to be moved to the open areas. The Unknown area contains information unknown to anyone such as talents, capabilities, emotions and feelings. The person is unaware of this information until it is discovered through different ways such as observation. Open communication can ensure one discovers new emotions and capabilities, thus reducing the unknown areas.

The use of Johari window is significant in understanding the relationship between an individual and people around.  This research is a reflection to make sense of emotions and feelings to be able to deal better with employees as a manager. As a manager, one is expected to deal with different elements from decision making to conflict resolution. The Johari window improves self-awareness by making one make sense of emotions and feelings. It creates an understanding between leaders and followers. It is a self-reflection tool that helps on understand who they are by balancing between what they think of themselves and what other people think. It helps one to realise how life experiences, positionality and culture has been developed and created over time.

Critique of the Research Design

The use of the bricolage approach helps researchers respect the intricacy of the process of meaning-making as well as the contradictions of the lived world. The use of several methodological practices as well as perspectives, observers and empirical materials in a single study adds rigour, complexity, breadth, depth and richness to the study. However, as argued by Rogers (2012), the use of an interpretive bricolage indicates accepting that there a correct perspective of telling an event rather different perspectives to an event. However, in the case of this study, the researcher understands that research is an interactive process based on personal biography, history, social, gender, race, class, ethnicity and people in the setting.

The use of the Johari window methodology reinforces this approach in that self-awareness involves identifying how culture, life experiences and positionality are created.  All these involve personal elements such as history, race, gender, social factors and ethnicity, among others since they define who we are. The Johari windows thus introduce the aspects of the people around, thus completing the interactive process. A major challenge faced in the process of this research is integrating data from different sources to make meaning. Data from personal reflections and feedback from people once integrated gave various patterns. The use of bricolage approach gives disparate evidence, and the researcher has to immerse and re-immerse into the data to make meaning and find patterns. However, for a person seeking to make sense of emotions and feelings, making sense of this data was challenging

Part B: Digital Storyboard

Critical Incident Analysis

The digital storyboard is in the form of a critical incident analysis where a critical incident involving analysed cultural texts is presented. The incident analyses the differences in cultural codes of communication and how the lack of social skills to bridge the differences can be dangerous in specific situations.

Context of the incident

The incident involves communication in the context of cross-culture communication. Communication is one of the significant components of everyday life but is done differently in different cultures. Communicating across cultures is hard not only from the language barrier but also due to the different ways of communicating adopted by different cultures. In the context of this incident, there was a communication clash between the Hing Kong culture and the American culture. The Hong Kong people have a collectivist culture where family, community and kingship are important. The Americans, on the other hand, have an individualistic culture where the individual interests are prioritised as opposed to group interests. Research has shown that collectivist cultures use high-context communication (HCC) style, while individualistic cultures use a low-context communication (LCC). Low-context communication consists of communication patterns that employ direct verbal mode and sender-oriented values, where the sender takes the responsibility of influencing the meaning of the message. However, the HCC is communication patterns with an indirect verbal mode and interpreter sensitive values where the receiver takes the responsibility of interpreting the message (Du-Babcock and Tanaka 2013).

Actual incident

Company A is registered and operates in Hong Kong. The company manufactures electronic parts from mobile phone parts to television parts. The company has two manufacturing plants and is a major supplier to global players in the electronics industry. I work for company B, an American company which was contracted by company A to provide quality control and management software after quality issues became rampant in the manufacturing plants. Company A provided the specifications and company B was only required to develop the software following the specifications. However, there was a contractual agreement that company B should never in part or in whole sell or reveal the software to another company. However, company B used some of the specifications provided by company A to develop software for company’s A competitor and a conflict arose. A conflict resolution company which was also American was brought in to solve the issue rather than legal proceedings, and a meeting was set-up.

During the meeting, the team from company A presented facts using a communication style that did not seek to embarrass anyone. They employed an indirect method of presenting what happened and let the resolution expert interpret the message.  However, the team from company B was very direct and presented issues in a way to embarrass company A.  rather than letting the resolution expert interpret the issues as presented, they impacted the meaning. This was very demeaning to company A and the team left in which case company B was very articulate in issuing threats in abusive language. The conflict was never resolved, and company A left it at that and sought the services of another company.

Why the incident was critical

The incident was critical in that it involved two cultural contexts, and there was among others things much disrespect within the negotiations and the process finally failed. Effective intercultural communication is based on awareness and respect of other cultures, social skills and knowledge of culture codes. Communication is only effective if the receiver understands the message as intended by the sender (Mackenzie and Wallace 2011). In cross-cultural communication, the message has to consider the cultural codes and values for it to be interpreted as meant. Communication in a cross-cultural context is more than just passing the message in an effective medium rather has to consider how the message is presented. One requires the necessary social skills to bridge the v cultural differences to ensure the recipient understands the message as intended. In this incident, the team from company B failed to respect and be aware of the cultural differences and ended up communicating in a way that was interpreted as disrespectful.

Concerns at the time

At the time of the incident, I was concerned at the lack of understanding and concern portrayed by a company I was working for. I failed to understand why the team had to be disrespectful while issuing threats of lawsuits. While I had previous experience interacting with both cultures, it never occurred to me that people could actually communicate in such a culturally insensitive manner. I was so ashamed of my team, considering my cultural background and felt their feelings and emotions of betrayal and disrespect. I was concerned at the lack of social skills portrayed by my team and the level of culture unawareness. However, I would later learn that the handling of the meeting was a tactic to keep the other team down. I was unable to fathom the level of abuse inflicted on the Hong Kong team all in the name of winning. It is culture and experiences that make us who we are and using culture to abuse someone is directly an abuse to the person an individual (Oetzel 2017).

Thinking and feelings at the time of happening

I was extremely angry and ashamed but was restrained from acting given I was not among the negotiating team. I felt the pain of being abused and dismissed in a way that disrespected one’s culture. I understood the power of culture in defining who one is and how taking away that amounted to disrespect. However, I also understood the culture of the American team was individualistic and wining is a major part of this culture. This does not, however, give them the right to devalue the cultural values of other people while still working within the same culture. Human beings co-exist based on understanding and respect, and when that is taken away, the experience can create conflicts and wrangles. I would not have blamed the company A team if they decided to take actions based on the treatment.




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