Social Reflection Series: Jarvis (1994)

Jarvis (1994)

This model takes into consideration that different situations induce (and may require) different approaches and furthers Kolb and Fry’s (1975) model as a result. As a more ‘web’ based diagram with more possible outcomes (e.g. memorisation of the situation, or practiced experimentation), scenarios that did not fit into Kolb and Fry’s (1975) model work here. For example in immediate situations (e.g. our example where someone shouts at you in the street) the reaction here is likely to be ‘presumed’ so we say “sorry”, but no further reflection or action is taken. Not only does this account for a more natural responses (like routine behaviours and thought processes e.g. crossing a road), it also illustrates more structured ‘reflective learning’ and ‘reflective practice’, which is noted as similar to Schon’s reflection whilst we are in the action/ experience itself.



As a result Jarvis appreciates that reflection can take different formats and occurs as a result of a varying quality of incidents in our daily lives. For the purpose of our structured personal development it is therefore suggested that the stages of ‘experiential learning’ should be followed to be successful in doing so.

However the stages for this process are very similar to those suggested by Kolb and Fry (1975). The process illustrated here is more comprehensive to include ‘evaluation’ of our experience and also points out that experience needs committing to memory before it can be assimilated into our existing schema. It could be argued that this is unnecessary detail and that certain components could be combined. For example it might be suggested that when people memorise their evaluation of an experience is also the point when their existing beliefs are either reinforced or changed and thus these stages can be combined. However it is argued here that this is somewhat useful as after someone has changed their belief, this could be reversed following a similar incident. An additional arrow would therefore flow from stage 9, for example, then to stages 5, 8, 6 and then finally 4. If memorisation were integrated with the resultant beliefs (stages 9 and 4) this process would not be possible.

In essence it is believed that this captures the complexities and situational variations witness in the real world. The fundamental criticism remains with this model however and that is the problem of a stage based model in what is often a situation where there are numerous processes occurring at the same time, or considerations that are made in no particular order. Also, this model is again not particularly helpful in addressing what social marketers need to do at being effective at reflecting, to ensure that we are evaluating or experimenting with the correct resulting concepts. Never the less this is deemed the most successful model of reflection that has been evaluated and has successfully built on the previous model.


Despite the relatively few models and researchers working in the area of reflection it is widely used in organisations.  For example SCRUM is a form of the reflective cycle with an action component and thre NHS widely uses and trains people on reflection to enable them to digest the unique social and humane situations that they are exposed to everyday.

As social marketers there is often not perceived to be “enough hours in the day” to go about a 30 minute evaluation of what has been done, the impact this has had and then what follow up action/ development that needs to be taken.  However it is very interesting that when you look at all of the models that we have over the past 5 articles that they all work towards a staged based approach to reflection (or what questions need asking at each stage).  These stages are certainly reminiscent to the JWT “Planning cycle” of marketing campaigns, where the evaluation of the campaign represents reflective practie.

Evaluation must be inherant to all marketing activity as ultimately how can one truly develop and grow unless previous successes and weaknesses are not identified and applied to future plans?  I would personally highly recommend that social marketing practitioners use a reflective cycle (or combination of a few models) in particular, due to the social nature of the marketing you are executing.  Like health practitioners there are a vast range of experiences that you might be exposed to that needs negotiating internally in order to make sense of what happened.  Only then will you truly be able to adapt to the many types of people you are likely to be dealing with and become a top class social marketer.

Related Articles:

The Reflection in Social Marketing Series;

Part 1 – Reflection in Social Marketing

Part 2 – The Myers Briggs Indicator

Part 3 – Kolb and Fry’s (1975) reflection model

Part 4 – Johns (2000) model of reflection

Part 5 – Jarvis (1994) and Conclusions


  1. admin says

    Yes it is an interesting subject and helps us take stock of how to evaluate our experiences of reality.

    From a marketing perspective this is massively useful in consumer research, especially with the increasing need for psychological understanding of human and group motivations/ behaviour.

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