Success and failure in professional projects: the nature, contours and limits of consulting professionalism

Butler, N and Collins, David (2018) Success and failure in professional projects: the nature, contours and limits of consulting professionalism. British Journal of Management. ISSN 1045-3172 (In Press)

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Abstract

This paper offers an analysis of the professional project that was pursued by the Institute of Management Consultants (IMC) on behalf of its members. The paper builds upon Sturdy’s (2011) call to develop empirically-grounded accounts of the ways and means of consulting. In addition it responds to the analysis of the Association of Project Management (APM) developed by Hodgson et al. (2015), which invited further comparative study of professional projects. Drawing upon archive data, we develop a comparative analysis that considers four key themes: 1) the professionalization strategies developed by the IMC and the APM; 2) jurisdictional issues and shifts in the fields of consulting and project management; 3) the structure of credentials developed for practitioners in both arenas; and 4) the attitudes and actions of key stakeholders shaping policy in the APM and the IMC. The paper examines the contrasting fortunes of the APM and the IMC yet observes similarities in working practices across these apparently distinctive settings. Reflecting upon this comparison, we consider the nature, contours and limits of consulting professionalism and conclude with the suggestion that, within the analysis of professional projects, conventional conceptualisations of ‘success’ and ‘failure’ should be considered as ‘impostors’.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: project management, management consultants, hybridity, professions, professionalism
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Business & Applied Social Science > Suffolk Business School
Depositing User: David Upson-Dale
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2018 11:33
Last Modified: 11 Sep 2018 11:33
URI: http://oars.uos.ac.uk/id/eprint/716

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