Tracing the becoming of reflective practitioner through the enactment of epistemic practices

Mihaela Trenca

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Purpose - This paper aims to develop a conceptual framework for tracing the cognitive and affective micro-processes management accountants can draw upon to construct themselves as reflective practitioners within organizational context. Design/methodology/approach - Drawing on pragmatic constructivism and Heron's (1992) theory of learning and personhood, the framework provides a methodology for tracing the way management accountants can construct themselves as reflective practitioners by enactig epistemic practices (Cetina, 2001). Furthermore, we enquire into the epistemological requirements for creating trustworthy knowledge and the processes through which actors can diminish the proactive-pragmatic truth gap. Findings - The framework shows how the participatory function of the mind, deeply rooted in affective processes, is implicated in creating empathic engagement with epistemic objects. Besides the affective dimension, there is the need for logical inferences to link facts and reveal possibilities for helping actors to pursue their value system. Coupling affective and logical processes fosters passionate humility, which helps actors create clear communicative acts with whom other actors can resonate, leading to the development of functioning practices. Research limitations/implications - Providing a framework for tracing the micro-processes of epistemic practices can serve as a tool for researchers to acquire a more detailed account of the practice and. By looking into the epistemological aspect of practice, researchers could be able to go beyond describing practice and suggest improvements from a pragmatic point of view. Originality/value - The paper provides a novel insight into the analysis of management accounting practice by showing the interplay between affective and cognitive processes in sustaining epistemic practice. Additionally, it opens up the dialogue on trustworthiness of knowledge generated through epistemic practices. © 2016 Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Original languageEnglish
JournalQualitative Research in Accounting & Management
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)350-369
Publication statusPublished - 1. Aug 2016


  • Empathic engagement
  • Epistemic practice
  • Participatory function
  • Pragmatic constructivism

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