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Telling Global Stories: Improvisations and Local Adaption in Strategy Consultation

Wednesday, February 25, 2009 (All day)


Time: 3.30pm-5pm

Speaker: Andrew Jones, Birkbeck

Venue: Room 152, Birkbeck, Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HX
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Abstract: The development of the global informational economy has increased the demand for a huge range of professional services as firms in almost all industries seek to expand their operations into new markets. A key professional service in the process is strategic management consultancy. Once a small, niche sub-sector of the management consultancy industry, strategy consultancy has developed into a significant segment of the management consultancy sector with specialist strategy firms growing in both size and number. This shift is important because strategy consultancies are key repositories of specialised knowledge that form the basis for influential advice which is ‘purchased’ by senior management and other key decision-makers in positions of power within leading firms in the global economy. This paper argues that the development of this sub-sector within the global management consultancy industry is playing a crucial role in shaping the nature of corporate globalization in the contemporary global economy. It considers the nature of this knowledge, arguing that the strategic advice offered by strategic consultants is formed in a contested discursive arena. It argues, however, that this discursive arena is one where consultants draw on a range of knowledge resources in formulating advice (which also exist at a variety of scales), and that advice is improvised and adapted through process of negotiation with client firms in a manner that is shaped by ‘local’ contexts. It illustrates these arguments with reference to research into the operations of strategic consultancies in Europe and North America.