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Client-consultant interaction: ‘outsider’ status and ambiguity

Published on July 1, 2015   33 min

Other Talks in the Series: Management Consultancy

Welcome, everybody, to this talk about client-consultant interaction. My name is Irene Skovgaard Smith, and I'm senior lecturer, organizational behavior, Anglia Ruskin University. Originally my background is in anthropology, so I study what people do and how they interact with each other and relate to each other in everyday organizational life. So what I did for my PhD was I studied management consultants and their interactions with their clients and in the context of client organizations. So today that is going to be my topic.
So why is it interesting to look at client-consultant interaction? The reason for that is that in quite an obvious way you could say that consultants interact with people. That's how they deliver their service. There is no consulting outside of that crucial interaction with clients. So that space is actually where consulting comes into being. So we can study consultants and talk about consultants in many different ways, their industry, but ultimately, without that interaction in client organizations there is no consulting. In this particular space between clients and consultants, that is where it all happens. And that depends to a large extent on how people in those client organizations actually perceive the consultants, how they experience them, how they position them. And that determines what they can do, and the opportunities they have, and the limitations they have, or being able to influence anything in that context. So this is why client-consultant interaction is a crucial aspect of understanding what consulting is all about.

Client-consultant interaction: ‘outsider’ status and ambiguity

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