Doing a doctorate in business administration: The case for critical reflexivity

Catherine Farrell*, Sarah Oerton, Eoin Plant

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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    This paper focuses upon the value of critical reflexivity in illuminating practice-based management inquiry. Drawing upon contributions to debates in the field, the paper demonstrates how critical reflexivity permits interrogation of the dynamic tensions associated with ‘real life’ practice and scholarly research on Doctor in Business Administration (DBA) programmes. It offers clearer understanding of the complex journeys undertaken, greater recognition of the organizational and cultural landscapes inhabited, and broadens concepts of how ‘success’ on DBA programmes may be evaluated. The paper further argues that critical reflexivity plays a key role in highlighting the various processes underlying the design, management and delivery of DBA programmes. In this way, the paper offers useful insights likely to be of interest not only to taught doctoral students in the field but also academics involved in developing practice-based management programmes in higher education. The paper's arguments are developed using a qualitative methodological approach underpinned by two primary data sets collected from different cohorts of students on DBA programmes and secondary sources subject to retrospective content analysis.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)370-379
    Number of pages10
    JournalInternational Journal of Management Education
    Issue number3
    Early online date13 Jun 2018
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018


    • Critical reflexivity
    • Doctor in Business Administration
    • Professional doctorate


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