Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Constituting best practice in management consulting

Collins, David


David Collins


This paper offers critical reflections on the construction and propagation of ‘best practice’: a concept which has become increasingly important in the business world and in civic life more generally. Focusing upon the activities of the Management Consultancies Association (MCA) we offer an analysis of the awards process instituted to applaud ‘best practice’ in the arena of consulting. Departing from existing academic representations of the advice industry which generally exclude this trade body from the analytical frame we consider the role which the MCA performs in the field of consulting. Situating the MCA’s attempt to constitute best practice within the work of Bruno Latour we argue that this construct depends upon the mobilization of an extended network of allies, advocates and spectators whose interactions have been written-out of academic analysis. The paper concludes by proposing the need for further research designed to explore, both, the heterogeneity and the porosity of the networks that construct, convey and applaud key knowledge products such as ‘best practice’.


Collins, D. (2016). Constituting best practice in management consulting. Culture and organization, 22(5), 409-429.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 24, 2014
Online Publication Date Dec 13, 2014
Publication Date 2016-10
Deposit Date May 26, 2015
Publicly Available Date May 26, 2015
Journal Culture and organization
Print ISSN 1475-9551
Electronic ISSN 1477-2760
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 22
Issue 5
Pages 409-429
Keywords Best practice; Management consultants; Networks; Collectives; Latour
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Culture and organization on 13 Dec 2014, available online:


You might also like

Downloadable Citations