Unpacking the client(s): constructions, positions and client–consultant dynamics
Alvesson, Mats, Kärreman, Dan, Sturdy, Andrew and Handley, Karen. (2009) Unpacking the client(s): constructions, positions and client–consultant dynamics. Scandinavian Journal of Management, Vol.25 (No.3). pp. 253-263. ISSN 0956-5221
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scaman.2009.05.001
Research on management consultancy usually emphasizes the role and perspective of the consultants. Whilst important, consultants are only one element in a dynamic relationship involving both consultants and their clients. In much of the literature, the client is neglected, or is assumed to represent a distinct, immutable entity. In this paper, we argue that the client organisation is not uniform but is instead (like organisations generally) a more or less heterogeneous assemblage of actors, interests and inclinations involved in multiple and varied ways in consultancy projects. This paper draws upon three empirical cases and emphasizes three key aspects of clients in the context of consultancy projects: (a) client diversity, including, but not limited to diversity arising solely from (pre-)structured contact relations and interests; (b) processes of constructing ‘the client’ (including negotiation, conflict, and reconstruction) and the client identities which are thereby produced; and (c) the dynamics of client–consultant relations and how these influence the construction of multiple and perhaps contested client positions and identities.
|Item Type:||Journal Article|
|Subjects:||H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor|
|Divisions:||Faculty of Social Sciences > Warwick Business School|
|Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH):||Business consultants -- Research, Social constructionism, Corporate culture -- Research, Organizational behavior|
|Journal or Publication Title:||Scandinavian Journal of Management|
|Official Date:||September 2009|
|Page Range:||pp. 253-263|
|Access rights to Published version:||Open Access|
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