This volume makes an important contribution to the growing literature on management consulting. It brings together international contributors from a wide variety of backgrounds and draws on recent empirical research from a diverse range of countries, consultancy firms, and client companies. The analysis focuses on three key areas. The first part of the book looks at the emergence and development of the consulting industry in different countries and time periods. The interplay between national systemic context and outside influences is stressed, and the efforts of consultants to become recognized as 'legitimate' knowledge carriers by their clients is highlighted, in competition - and sometimes cooperation - with other suppliers of management knowledge, notably academia.
The volume goes on to consider the generation, management, and validation of consulting knowledge by consultancy organizations and management gurus, showing how these activities are influenced not only by the consultancies' own characteristics in terms of size, structure, and national origin, but also by the (national and cultural) context in which they are operating, and by the role of 'gatekeepers', such as book publishers or journalists. The third part of the book focuses on the nature and dynamics of the consultancy-client relationship, focusing especially on the ways in which consultants convince managers of the need to hire outside advisors; on the reaction of those concerned in the client organization towards the consultants' recommendations; and on the methods used by the consultants to overcome the possible reluctance and resistance from within the organization.
From a more theoretical point of view, the chapters in this volume also show that research on management consulting has to take into account different levels of analysis: the consulting industry as a whole and its position relative to other knowledge providers such as academia; the specific consultancy organization and its relationships with internal and external sources of knowledge; and the particular consultancy project and notably the interplay between the consultants and the various stakeholders within and outside the client organization.
"Examining the generation, management, and validation of knowledge by consultancies and managerial gurus, this collection shows that these activities are influenced not only by the firms' own characteristics of size, structure and national origin, but also by national and cultural
Lars Engwall and Matthias Kipping: Introduction
Part I: Historical Perspectives on the Consulting Industry
1: Odile Henry: The Acquisition of Symbolic Capital by Consultants: The French Case
2: Lars Engwall, Staffan Furusten, and Eva Wallerstedt: The Changing Relationship Between Management Consulting and Academia: Evidence from Sweden
3: Luchien Karsten and Kees van Veen: Management Consultancies in the Netherlands in the 1950s and 1960s: Between Systemic Context and External Influences
4: Antti Ainamo and Janne Tienari: The Rise and Fall of a Local Version of Management Consulting in Finland
Part II: Organizational Perspectives on the Consultancy Firm
5: Andreas Werr: The Internal Creation of Consulting Knowledge: A Question of Structuring Experience
6: Cristina Crucini: Knowledge Management at Country Level: A Large Consulting Firm in Italy
7: Timothy Clark and David Greatbatch: Collaborative Relationships in the Creation and Fashioning of Management Ideas: Gurus, Editors, and Managers
8: Michael Faust: Consultancies as Actors in Knowledge Arenas: Evidence from Germany
Part III: Relationship Perspectives on the Consultancy Project
9: Alfred Kieser: Managers as Marionettes? Using Fashion Theories to Explain the Success of Consultancies
10: Christopher Wright: Promoting Demand, Gaining Legitimacy, and Broadening Expertise: The Evolution of Consultancy-Client Relationships in Australia
11: Matthias Kipping and Thomas Armbruster: The Burden of Otherness: Limits of Consultancy Interventions in Historical Case Studies
12: Hallgeir Gammelsaeter: Managers and Consultants as Embedded Actors: Evidence from Norway