Leadership reflective practices: Adaptive challenges, slow questions and meaningful relations in fluid and accelerated times

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In recent times of volatility and acceleration, leaders in organisations at a strategic level are facing increasingly complex adaptive challenges accompanied with a growing body of information, as for example seen with the COVID-19 pandemic. They are increasingly challenged by an uncontrollable dynamic. This review explores what the role is of reflective practices considering these challenges. The background of the study is the observation that likewise business research is accelerated in a tremendous speed, thereby remaining fragmented and interdisciplinary. Therefore, this study analyses the content of literature on leadership and reflectivity in current times. The aim is to investigate the main key-concepts and to create an agenda for further research. This review demonstrates that addressing slow questions and creating meaningful relations could play a critical role for leaders experiencing adaptive challenges and ‘shrinking time’. The meta-reflection in this review revealed two dimensions of reflective practices relevant for future investigation: firstly, intrapersonal, intuitive, and embodied reflection on the experiences of leaders; and secondly, dialogical ‘sense-making’ with others. This review shows that reflective practices have primarily been studied among professionals, and not among leaders. This raises the question: Is the general assumption that professionals ‘reflect’ and that leaders mainly ‘act’?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-241
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Studies in Social Sciences and Humanities
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sept 2021
EventEAPRIL conferentie 2022 FROM FORMAL EDUCATION TO CONTINUOUS LEARNING: Learning as a collaborative interaction between learning professionals, research, education and the workplace - HAN Nijmegen, Nijmegen, Netherlands
Duration: 23 Nov 202225 Nov 2022
Conference number: 8


  • Complexity
  • Adaptive Challenges
  • Accelerated times
  • Leadership
  • Reflective practice
  • Intuition
  • Embodiment
  • Resonance
  • Dialogue
  • Sense-making
  • Public Leadership
  • Strategic leadership
  • Leadership development
  • Reflectivity

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