The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think In Action

Front Cover
Basic Books, Sep 23, 1984 - Psychology - 384 pages
3 Reviews
Reviews aren't verified, but Google checks for and removes fake content when it's identified
A leading M.I.T. social scientist and consultant examines five professions—engineering, architecture, management, psychotherapy, and town planning—to show how professionals really go about solving problems.

What people are saying - Write a review

Reviews aren't verified, but Google checks for and removes fake content when it's identified
User Review - Flag as inappropriate

Irrationality by other name, the reflective thinking approach is a muddily effort aimed at encouraging people to trust their intuition against hard solid science.
His critic of positivism is shallow
and biased, and only aimed at making science look bad. There are much better critics of Bacon et al. at the hands of proper scientists like JD Bernal's.
The book lacks examples of successful applications of reflection-in-action, but it is not short of grandiose claims. Pity the successes are all in the practitioners' minds.
The description of what he calls Technical Rationality is a pathetic lie: Schon claims that technically rational scientists and engineers first decide on what the results should be, and then set out to obtain them. (Again, no credible examples.) Indeed, a good example of Schon's biased view, and lack of technical understanding, is the Hancock building story (Foot note 45, Ch.1). If anything, that embarrassing story shows what happens when 'gut-feeling', 'artsie-architecture' has to be rescued by technical rationality.
In the last chapter Schon reveals his true intentions: self anointed reflective practitioners will mediate between labor, government and business in order to resolve any social conflicts, (including war!). As a result of this idealistic managerial approach, reflective practitioners will eventually create a conflict-free society ruled by intuitive artists, democratic, egalitarian and above all, will overcome the dehumanizing and troublesome Technical Rationality. Education, and especially Technical Education, will be ruled by the principle 'relevance' is more important that 'rigor' . ( I suggest NOT to fly on any aircraft designed and built by reflective practitioners, just in case...)
If you already bough this book, don't bother reading it, just recycle it...


The Crisis of Confidence in Professional Knowledge
From Technical Rationality to ReflectioninAction
Design as a Reflective Conversation with the Situation
Psychotherapy The Patient as a Universe of One
The Structure of ReflectioninAction
Reflective Practice in the ScienceBased Professions
Town Planning Limits to ReflectioninAction
The Art of Managing ReflectioninAction Within an Organizational Learning System
Patterns and Limits of ReflectioninAction Across the Professions
Implications for the Professions and Their Place in Society

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1984)

Donald A. Schön is Ford Professor of Urban Studies and Education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Bibliographic information