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How does the identity of consultants impact their work - Essay Example

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How does the identity of consultants impact their work? BY YOU YOUR SCHOOL DATA HERE DATE HERE How does the identity of consultants impact their work? Introduction Empirical literature describes the role of consultant as both challenging and also a construct of whether an individual in this field develops a positive sense of self that is viable for the external client…
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Download file to see previous pages This paper explores identity formation in multiple fields of consultancy work to determine how identity impedes job role or whether elements of identity have the potential to enhance relationships internally or with external clients. The nature of consultancy According to Alvesson & Robertson (2006, p.220), consultancy firms “are highly people dependent and rely heavily upon safe-guarding loyalty through identification”. The consultancy industry relies on organisational culture and structure that facilitates allegiance and dependability through various social systems that guide control behaviour through management and demand reliability in all aspects of client relationships. In psychological theory, the nature of organisational culture or group membership defines team-based hierarchies as being highly contributory to self-esteem development and the sustainment of affiliation needs in order to achieve the pinnacle of total self-development and productivity (Chow, 2009; Gambrel & Cianci, 2003). Affiliation needs are necessary in group-based environments that are people dependent in order to sustain higher self-esteem development and be able to link identity with organisational culture. A study utilizing a sample of 79 representatives from four distinctly different consulting firms identified that the role of consultant requires four key dimensions. These include knowledge work, management and membership, personal orientation and external interface (Alvesson & Empson, 2008). Knowledge work is the active sharing of data between key members of the organisation and promoting knowledge as a regular business practice. Membership ties closely with the psychological principles previously identified as they are related to finding a sense of identity in terms of the organisation and its mission or structure, as well as related to personal orientation, in support of the literature provided by Chow (2009) and Gambrel & Cianci (2003). For the sake of this analysis, the spotlight will be on external interface which deals with how the organisation or the individual is seen by others in the external environment. Kipping & Armbruster (2002) recognise that consultants have a difficult time legitimizing their profession to the outside world and clients. There is a general misconception about consultancy work that exists in the external community and external marketplace that is build on scepticism of its validity with perceptions that the field is borne less of expertise and knowledge, but more as “masters of persuasion” (Kitay & Wright, 2007, p.1619). This pervading professional and social attitude regarding consultancy work maintains the potential to have negative impact on the self-confidence development of consultant workers that could have ramifications for their practice activities and general attitude. “A deficient sense of the self has a profound impact on psychological functioning as well as interpersonal behaviour” (Reasoner, 2009, p.2). Much to the disadvantage of the consultant, the majority of their dealings are with the external environment in the form of client relationships. When consultants are put into the position of having to continuously ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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