Single or multiple organizational identities: the management consultant’s dilemma

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Conference Proceeding
Proceedings of the Australian Academy of Business and Social Sciences Conference 2014, 2014
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In this article,we examine the signals consulting firms send to clients and the publicthrough the identities they publish on their websites. The paper begins with a review of academic and practitioner literature onconsulting identities and typologies. The literature review leads us to concludethat the consultant cannot be conceptualized by a single definable construct but rather by multiple typologies.To demonstrate this we establish a theoretically informed framework summarizing the main consulting identities from extantliterature. The framework is then appliedto a sample of 50 consulting organizations currently operating in Australia. Throughthe application of thisframework, the identity of the consulting firms areseen to be multiple and sometimes contradictory in nature. Finally,we discuss the possible strategic implicationsof identity multiplicity, correlating identity with legitimacy and impression management techniques.
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