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Unpacking the client(s): Constructions, positions and client-consultant dynamics

Alvesson, Mats LU ; Kärreman, Dan; Sturdy, Andrew and Handley, Karen (2009) In Scandinavian Journal of Management 25(3). p.253-263
Abstract
Research on management consultancy usually emphasizes the rote 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... (More)
Research on management consultancy usually emphasizes the rote 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. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Management consultancy, Client, Projects, Social construction
in
Scandinavian Journal of Management
volume
25
issue
3
pages
253 - 263
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • wos:000269570600002
  • scopus:68349092783
ISSN
0956-5221
DOI
10.1016/j.scaman.2009.05.001
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
20c301bc-b9ec-4291-bee1-6f9f3049bca7 (old id 1474950)
date added to LUP
2009-10-02 12:46:06
date last changed
2017-09-24 04:00:47
@article{20c301bc-b9ec-4291-bee1-6f9f3049bca7,
  abstract     = {Research on management consultancy usually emphasizes the rote 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. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.},
  author       = {Alvesson, Mats and Kärreman, Dan and Sturdy, Andrew and Handley, Karen},
  issn         = {0956-5221},
  keyword      = {Management consultancy,Client,Projects,Social construction},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {253--263},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {Scandinavian Journal of Management},
  title        = {Unpacking the client(s): Constructions, positions and client-consultant dynamics},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scaman.2009.05.001},
  volume       = {25},
  year         = {2009},
}