Reflexive practice and the making of elite business careers

Maclean, M., Harvey, C. and Chia, R. (2012) Reflexive practice and the making of elite business careers. Management Learning, 43(4), pp. 385-404. (doi:10.1177/1350507612449680)

Full text not currently available from Enlighten.

Publisher's URL:


This article develops a new perspective on reflexive practice in the making of elite business careers. It builds upon Bourdieu 19s practice framework to examine how business leaders from elite and non-elite backgrounds develop and practice reflexivity in their everyday lives. The article draws upon in-depth life-history interviews with members of the British business elite. Elites exhibited five types of reflexive behaviour, from which two modes of reflexive practice were derived: an accumulative mode, through which business leaders reflexively accumulate capital, positions and perspectives; and a re-constructive mode, through which they re-constitute the self in response to contingences, contexts and insights gathered. Our analysis suggests a link between reflexivity and career advancement, particularly in the case of non-privileged elites. Their greater experience of navigating the social landscape may facilitate perspective-taking, enhancing multipositionality, enabling such individuals to seize opportunities previously unthinkable.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Chia, Professor Robert
Authors: Maclean, M., Harvey, C., and Chia, R.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Journal Name:Management Learning
ISSN (Online):1461-7307
Published Online:20 June 2012

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record