Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Is Narcissism Undermining Critical Reflection in our Business Schools?
Authors: Tomkins, L.
Ulus, Eda
First Published: 6-Jan-2015
Citation: Academy of Management Learning & Education, 2015 (Published Online Before Print)
Abstract: This paper connects with claims that our students are struggling with critical reflection. We propose that hampering critical reflection is a form of narcissism, which we define using Ovid's classical myth. Narcissus' errors highlight the risks of non-critical reflection, involving the deceptions of familiarity and the appropriation of meaning. Narcissus' journey from reflection to critical reflection triggers an ethical crisis; but for us, such a journey can be a spur to reflexivity, emphasising the contingency of our knowledge claims and the ethics of our presence in the world. Woven through our discussion is the theme of power. Narcissus' initially naïve reflection incorporates the power to control meaning, and he proves incapable of relinquishing control over others to develop greater control over himself. We call for a softening of the distinctions in the management literature between (individual/psychological) reflection and (relational/political) critical reflection, arguing that our exploration of narcissism reveals the political-in-the-personal. We present practical suggestions for the classroom, including how to explain critical reflection to students and what pitfalls to avoid when reviewing and giving feedback on the work of others. These ideas have particular applicability to peer learning approaches, but also have relevance for the teaching and role-modelling of leadership.
DOI Link: 10.5465/amle.2014.0107
ISSN: 1537-260X
eISSN: 1944-9585
Embargo on file until: 1-Jan-10000
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © 2015, Academy of Management. All rights reserved.
Description: The file associated with this record is under a permanent embargo in accordance with the publisher's policy, available at
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, School of Management

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
AMLE FINAL.docxPost-review (final submitted)77.66 kBUnknownView/Open
AMLE FINAL.pdfPost-review (final submitted)280.54 kBAdobe PDFView/Open

Items in LRA are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.