The Consultant-Client Relationship: A Systems-Theoretical Perspective
The aim of this paper is to explain consulting failure from a systems-theoretical perspective and to provide a new framework for analysing consultant–client relationships. By drawing on Luhmann’s systems theory, clients and consultants are conceptualised as two autopoietic communication systems that operate according to idiosyncratic logics. They are structurally coupled through a third system, the so-called “contact system”, which constitutes a separate discourse. Due to their different logics no transfer of meaning between the three discourses is possible. This contradicts the traditional notion of consulting as a means of providing solutions to the client’s problems: neither is the consultant able to understand the client’s problems nor is it possible to transfer any solutions into the client system. Instead, consulting interventions only cause perturbations in the client system. Consequently, the traditional functions of consulting are called into question. The paper discusses the implications of this analysis with relation to the traditional approach to consulting, and presents a tentative framework for a systemic concept of consulting.
|Date of creation:||2007|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Ludwigstr. 28,80539 Munich, Germany|
Web page: http://www.bwl.uni-muenchen.de
More information through EDIRC
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:lmu:msmdpa:1920. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Debbie Claassen)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.