Conditions for Reflexive Practices in Leadership Learning: The Regulating Role of a Socio-moral Order of Peer Interactions

Magnus Larsson*, Morten Knudsen

*Corresponding author for this work

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Peer interaction is a standard aspect of most leadership development programmes and is seen to be conducive to learning. Realising deeper and critical reflexivity in peer interaction is, however, challenging. This study employs conversation analysis to empirically explore peer interactions in a leadership development programme for first-line managers in the public sector in Denmark. The analysis shows that a socio-moral order, that is normative expectations inherent in interactions, guide peer discussions and shape the conditions for reflection and deeper reflexivity. The socio-moral order was based on a central principle of treating each other as experts on one’s own practice. This principle allowed for reflection but turned attention away from critical reflexive practices. As a result, peer discussions took a more conservative rather than a transformational orientation. The study extends the theoretical understanding of the conditions for critical reflexivity as it demonstrates how the socio-moral order of interaction regulates engagement in critically reflexive practices.
Original languageEnglish
JournalManagement Learning
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)291-309
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Published online: 19. Marts 2021.


  • Conversation
  • Conversation analysis
  • Leadership development
  • Management development
  • Peer interaction

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