Noise, Parasites and Translation Theory and Practice in Management Consulting

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Management Learning, 2004, 35 (1), pp. 31 - 44
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Conventional representations of consulting stress the need to predict possible organizational realities associated with improved economic performance. It is conceptualized as a useful tool from which practice might profit if applied properly. In this article we explore theory as a means by which practice may not so much be honed by well-crafted advice as interrupted and transformed. Further, we propose a parasitical role for the management consultant as a source of 'noise' that disrupts established ways of doing and being by introducing interruptive action into the space between organizational order and chaos. What consulting can do is open up these spaces and create concepts that encourage new possible realities and real possibilities. The relation posited between organization theory and practice has the potential to create new forms of situated organization/organizing through disrupting established practice rather than by creating order. Consultants willing to take the risk of working in the productive space between organization and disorganization have a potential that questions the usual auspices of the enterprise.
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