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Transforming the public sector: management consultants as agents of change


  • Irvine Lapsley
  • Rosie Oldfield


This paper examines the practices of a distinctive group of change agents in the reform of the UK public sector - management consultants. The involvement of management consultants in these reforms has been the subject of intense debate. There have been attempts to present management consultants as 'rational modernizers', on the one hand and attempts to demonize them, on the other. However, little is known about the practices of management consultants in the public sector. This paper seeks to shed light on the management consultant as change agent in the UK public sector. The primary source of evidence is the perceptions of management consultants who have advised public sector institutions.

Suggested Citation

  • Irvine Lapsley & Rosie Oldfield, 2001. "Transforming the public sector: management consultants as agents of change," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(3), pages 523-543.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:euract:v:10:y:2001:i:3:p:523-543
    DOI: 10.1080/713764628

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Robin Fincham, 1999. "The Consultant-Client Relationship: Critical Perspectives on the Management of Organizational Change," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(3), pages 335-351, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Christensen, Mark & Skærbæk, Peter, 2010. "Consultancy outputs and the purification of accounting technologies," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 524-545, July.
    2. P. Windels & J. Christiaens, 2007. "The Adoption Of Accrual Accounting In Flemish Public Centres For Social Welfare: Examining The Importance Of Agents Of Change," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 07/451, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    3. Ramadhan, Sayel, 2009. "Budgetary accounting and reporting practices in Bahraini governmental units: An empirical study," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 168-183, April.

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