Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Appears in Collections:Management, Work and Organisation Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Between Innovation and Legitimation – Boundaries and Knowledge Flow in Management Consultancy
Author(s): Sturdy, Andrew
Clark, Timothy
Fincham, Robin
Handley, Karen
Contact Email:
Keywords: management consultancy
Business consultants
Knowledge management
Issue Date: Sep-2009
Date Deposited: 11-May-2009
Citation: Sturdy A, Clark T, Fincham R & Handley K (2009) Between Innovation and Legitimation – Boundaries and Knowledge Flow in Management Consultancy. Organization, 16 (5), pp. 627-653.;
Abstract: Management consultancy is seen by many as a key agent in the adoption of new management ideas and practices in organisations. Two contrasting views are dominant – consultants as innovators, bringing new knowledge to their clients, or as legitimating client knowledge. Those few studies which examine directly the flow of knowledge through consultancy in projects with clients favour the innovator view and highlight the important analytical and practical value of boundaries – consultants as both knowledge and organisational outsiders. Likewise, in the legitimator view, the consultants’ role is seen in terms of the primacy of the organisational boundary. By drawing on a wider social science literature on boundaries and studies of inter-organisational knowledge flow and management consultancy more generally, this polarity is seen as problematic, especially at the level of the consulting project. An alternative framework of boundary relations is developed and presented which incorporates their multiplicity, dynamism and situational specificity. This points to a greater complexity and variability in knowledge flow and its potential than is currently recognised. This is significant not only in terms of our understanding of management consultancy and inter-organisational knowledge dynamics and boundaries, but of a critical understanding of the role of management consultancy more generally.
DOI Link: 10.1177/1350508409338435
Rights: The final, definitive version of this article is published in the Journal, Organization Copyright SAGE Publications, Inc. by SAGE Publications, Inc. at the Organization page: on SAGE Journals Online:

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
ZZ13 boundaries and kn flow.pdfFulltext - Accepted Version182.35 kBAdobe PDFView/Open

This item is protected by original copyright

Items in the Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.

The metadata of the records in the Repository are available under the CC0 public domain dedication: No Rights Reserved

If you believe that any material held in STORRE infringes copyright, please contact providing details and we will remove the Work from public display in STORRE and investigate your claim.