Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Monolithic versus heterogeneous engagement

Monolithic versus heterogeneous engagement
It took me several attempts just to pronounce the words when I read my supervisor's comment. He points out that according to my data this is what the consultants seem to be doing. Monolithic engagement would be if you thought that all the key parties of an organisation behaved the same. A consultant varies his engaged behaviour depending on which parties he is working with, and that is heterogeneous engagement.

I don't think the words are quite opposites, but it's enough to give the idea that too much engagement with one part of the client system at the expense of another can be counterproductive because it can look like colluding, not being independent. And other parts of the client system may appreciate a degree of impartiality or detachment.

It's almost self-evident, and Czerniawska has written that one of the reasons for hiring a consultant is for the independent perspective, but that is not quite the same as being neutral with the various different key parties of the client organisation. That's rather interesting, isn't it?

NAO (2006) Central Government's Use of Consultants: Market Analysis, HC 128 HMSO, London. Accessed from
Czerniawska, F. and Smith, P. (2010) Buying Professional Services : How to Get Value for Money from Consultants and Other Professional Services Providers, Profile Books Ltd. in association with The Economist, London.

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