Reflection and Representation: An Experimental Examination of Computer-Based Representation to Support Reflective Thinking
Effective management requires executives to reflect upon their own beliefs ,andpractices. subjective process that one engages in either alone or in conversation with others. To self-reflect is to become aware of one's tacit beliefs and practices, and to then critically explore them. This study examines the role of information technology in enhancing the process of reflection. Information representation technologies can help in capturing and organizing surfaced beliefs and practices, which in turn can enhance the process of critically exploring them. Cause mapping in particular has been proposed as an application of information technology that can enhance the process of self-reflection. In a laboratory experiment comparing the effect of using cause maps against written text and speaking aloud, subjects found the process of reflection more satisfying with the use of cause maps. However, they produced more differentiatively complex representations in the speaking out loud condition. The preference for technology was also mediated by a person's work experience. The less experienced subjects preferred the use of cause maps while the more experienced subjects preferred written text. This study suggests that information technology can enhance the experience of self-reflection, but cautions that speaking out loud without technological support is an effective mode of self-reflection.
Maheswari, Anil and Boland, Richard, "Reflection and Representation: An Experimental Examination of Computer-Based Representation to Support Reflective Thinking" (1995). ICIS 1995 Proceedings. 17.