Management consultants are typically seen as key mediators in the flow of management ideas. And yet little is known about exactly what happens when they work together with clients, behind closed doors in consulting projects. Do they really innovate or simply legitimate existing knowledge? This book presents research from a three year long 'fly-on-the-wall study' of consulting projects and challenges our taken for granted view of consultancy. It draws on and integrates theories of knowledge and social boundaries to reveal a picture of complex and shifting insider-outsider relationships. Here, the outsider or expert status of consultants in relation to their clients cannot be assumed in their day-to-day project interactions. Different actors, roles, and types of knowledge are involved in an interactive and dynamic process where various boundaries are constructed, reinforced, negotiated and transformed. The chapters selectively explore these dynamics, revealing the importance of boundary complexity, the role of humour and challenge in often tense relationships, and the importance of shared knowledge domains such as sector knowledge.
This in-depth analysis of inter-organizational project teams also covers a wide range of consultancy contexts, drawing on cases studies which include: * a US-based strategy firm and a multinational client, * the public and private sectors, * a sole practitioner consultant, * IT implementation in financial services. The book is important for all those with an interest in management consultancy, project working and management knowledge as well as in innovation/change, inter-organisational relations, boundaries and professional services. The authors include some of the leading research experts on management consultancy as well as a former management consultant and current expert in management learning.
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(240mm x 161mm x 18mm)
Oxford University Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
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Author Biography - Andrew Sturdy
Andrew Sturdy is Professor of Organisational Behaviour at Warwick Business School, University of Warwick, UK. His research is focused on the global and local flow of management ideas and is widely cited in academic and popular media. In addition to his research with diverse client and consulting organisations, he advises various government agencies on the use of management consultancy. He is currently leading a research project on internal consultancy in the UK funded by Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Karen Handley is Senior Lecturer in HRM and Organisational Behaviour at Oxford Brookes University Business School. Before entering academia, she worked as a Principal Consultant in two management consultancy organizations. Her previous research investigated workplace learning in management consultancy organisations and she is currently Assistant Director of a research project, Engaging Students with Assessment Feedback, funded by the Higher Education Academy. Timothy Clark is Professor of Organisational Behaviour at Durham Business School, Durham University. He has conducted a series of consultancy research projects resulting in influential publications, including Managing Consultants (Open University Press, 1995) and Critical Consulting: New Perspectives on the Management Advice Industry (2002, Blackwell, with R. Fincham). He has been on the national Judging Panel of the UK MCA-Management Today Consultancy Competition since 2002. Robin Fincham is Professor of Organisational Behaviour in the Department of Management and Organisation, University of Stirling. His research interests have focused on innovation, particularly the strategic use of IT and, more recently, the role of management knowledge and ideas in organizational change and expert labour. His published work includes a co-authored book, Expertise and Innovation (1994, Oxford University Press) and a collection (co-edited with T. Clark), Critical Consulting: New Perspectives on the Management Advice Industry (2002, Blackwell).