A Handbook for Scholars and Practitioners
Each year, thousands of consulting contracts are awarded by organizations to experts that help them with challenges involving people, processes, technologies, goals, resource allocation, decision making, problem solving, and more. These experts—consultants—diagnose problems, recommend solutions, facilitate interventions, and evaluate outcomes. Many times, these consultants are academics with some special expertise in the area of the organization’s concerns; other times, they are employees of large or small professional consulting firms who do this type of work on a full-time basis. Although consulting is often associated with the “corporate world,” consultants also provide consulting services to federal, state, and local governments; nonprofit organizations; healthcare facilities; educational institutions; start-up firms; and those enterprises specializing in creative, technical, intellectual, and manufacturing work.
Over the past thirty years, the editors of this volume, who are college professors, have engaged in a variety of consulting activities that have enriched our teaching and scholarship in significant ways. Simultaneously, we have encountered colleagues who resisted consulting because they did not view it as an intellectually enriching activity, and full-time practitioners who sought greater credibility and substance in all they did. The former group failed to realize the potential of the reciprocal relationship between scholarship and action. The latter group wanted to do what they were doing, but better. Whether they were delivering training, writing curriculum, developing leaders, building teams, designing effective systems ← ix | x →and processes, mediating conflict, helping organizations facilitate change, or any number of other activities, these professionals expressed a...
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