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The failure of consulting professionalism? A longitudinal analysis of the Institute of Management Consultants

Butler, Nick; Collins, David

Authors

Nick Butler

David Collins

Abstract

© 2016 Taylor & Francis. Abstract: This paper offers a longitudinal analysis of the Institute of Management Consultants (IMC). Drawing on archive sources, we consider the manner in which the IMC sought to institutionalize a form of expertise specific to management consultants. Rejecting attempts to locate the boundaries of such expertise within idealized, archetypal frameworks, we analyse the IMC’s attempts to secure occupational closure in the field of consulting by means of normative, cognitive and symbolic mechanisms. While others account for the Institute’s professional project as a failure consequent upon consulting’s fragmentary knowledge base, we suggest that this project did not so much fail as drift towards another ‘hybrid’ form. In an attempt (a) to account for this shift and (b) to outline its key contours, we offer an archival analysis that explores the manner in which the Institute sought to reconcile the multiple interests and competing logics that construct professionalism within the field of consulting.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Mar 7, 2016
Journal Management & organizational history
Print ISSN 1744-9359
Electronic ISSN 1744-9367
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 11
Issue 1
Pages 48-65
Institution Citation Butler, N., & Collins, D. (2016). The failure of consulting professionalism? A longitudinal analysis of the Institute of Management Consultants. Management & organizational history : M & OH, 11(1), 48-65. https://doi.org/10.1080/17449359.2016.1151363
DOI https://doi.org/10.1080/17449359.2016.1151363
Keywords Management consultants; Professionalism; Professional project; Hybridity
Publisher URL http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17449359.2016.1151363#.Vt8Fkk_cvoY
Additional Information This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Management & organizational history on 07/03/2016, available online: http://wwww.tandfonline.com/[Article DOI]

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