Client and consultant interaction: Capturing social practices of professional service production

Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Academy of Management 2008 Annual Meeting: The Questions We Ask, AOM 2008, 2008
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The interaction between clients and consultants during consulting projects is essential for their success and is, consequently, of critical importance for the long-term survival of con-sulting companies. Since the exchange of clients and consultants is embedded in ongoing social practices, it is essential to identify and analyse these practices in order to explain and design the client-consultant relationship. We integrate three main theoretical perspectives or models on the client-consultant interaction - the expert model, the critical model and the social learning model - to develop an empirically grounded theory on this issue. Based on the investigation of seven consultancy projects within an international technical consulting firm, we identify three major practices that characterize the client-consultant interaction - shaping impressions, problem-solving, and negotiating expectations - and discuss their char-acteristics, activities, and contingencies.
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