Knowledge production in consulting teams

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Journal Article
Scandinavian Journal of Management, 2010, 26 (3), pp. 279 - 289
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The central thesis of this paper is that the production of knowledge in consulting teams can neither be understood as the result of an internal interaction between clients and consultants decoupled from the wider socio-political environment nor as externally determined by socially constructed industry recipes or management fashions detached from the cognitive uniqueness of the client-consultant team. Instead, we argue that knowledge production in consulting teams is intrinsically linked to the institutional environment that not only provides resources such as funding, manpower, or legitimacy but also offers cognitive feedback through which knowledge production is influenced. By applying the theory of self-organization to the knowledge production in consulting teams, we explain how consulting teams are structured by the socio-cultural environment and are structuring this environment to continue their work. The consulting team's knowledge is shaped and influenced by cognitive feedback loops that involve external collective actors such as the client organization, practice groups of consulting firms, the academic/professional community, and the general public who essentially become co-producers of consulting knowledge. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
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