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Use matters ... and matters of use: Building theory for reflective practice

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  • Management. Industrial Management


This article presents the Interpretive Clustering Approach to theory building from Research Oriented Action Research data as a means of creating theory to support the reflective practice of public managers. Tenets about the nature of theory suitable for supporting reflective practice are developed and discussed; these relate to recognizability, generalizability, creativity and integrity. The characteristics required of the approach to allow it to satisfy the tenets are explored. In the process of this exploration several methodological concepts are introduced including notions of faithfulness, possibilities, tentative relevance, cautious certainty, forcing the rhetoric, inclusion of examples and attractive conceptual tags.

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