After reflexivity: Ethics, freedom and the writing of organization studies

Carl Rhodes*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Citations (Scopus)


Building on existing considerations of reflexivity in research writing, this essai seeks to reappraise the concept of responsibility in relation to the ethics of post-representational research methodology in organization studies. Jacques Derrida's discussions of responsibility and undecidability and Emmanuel Lévinas' distinction between the saying and the said are brought to bear on the ethics of the discursive construction of organizational research as a form of representing the Other. The essai argues that responding to reflexivity extends beyond textual practice and self-accounting towards a responsibility for the exercise of academic freedom. This freedom entails a radical openness that is operationalized in an ongoing reinvention that resists the institutionalization of the field of inquiry through a form of transformative knowledge. It is the legacy and promise of reflexivity in organization studies that can invigorate the imagination in research - its poiesis - as an ongoing project of saying the ethical.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)653-672
Number of pages20
JournalOrganization Studies
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009


  • Ethics
  • Methodology
  • Reflexivity
  • Representation
  • Writing


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