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Management consultants as improvising agents of stability
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stockholm Centre for Organizational Research (SCORE).
2009 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Management, ISSN 0956-5221, Vol. 25, no 3, 264-274 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Relatively few studies have paid theoretical as well as empirical attention to what use organizations have of management consultants and their services. By studying how buyers and sellers of management consulting services describe what management consulting is and represents, this study questions common understandings in the literature, i.e., that management consultants act as agents of change or as standardizers of organizational practice around the world. It is argued that consultants can be understood as playing the role of improvisers because there is considerable uncertainty among both buyers and sellers as to what use organizations really have of them. Playing a recognizable, yet indefinite role based on an institutionalized foundation, in both discourse and practice, of what actors such as consultants are supposed to do in certain situations, helps client organizations to reduce the uncertainty experienced. The conclusion is that management consultants can therefore be understood as agents of stability rather than agents of change.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 25, no 3, 264-274 p.
Keyword [en]
Management consulting; Improvisation; Uncertainty reduction; Agents of stability
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-63827DOI: 10.1016/j.scaman.2009.05.009OAI: diva2:452728
Available from: 2011-10-31 Created: 2011-10-31 Last updated: 2011-11-17Bibliographically approved

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Furusten, Staffan
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