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Consulting That Matters

A Handbook for Scholars and Practitioners

Edited By Jennifer H. Waldeck and David R. Seibold

Each year, thousands of consulting contracts are awarded by organizations to experts who 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 that are often related to human communication. Some consultants are academicians skilled in both doing and interpreting research for clients; others are practitioners with little use for research and theory. Driving all of the ideas showcased in Consulting That Matters: A Handbook for Scholars and Practitioners is the premise that sound theory and research are critical to consulting success, and should be the blueprints for successful organizational transformation. Thus, this book is for all types of consultants, including the very best who are at the top of their games and those who believe theory and research belong in ivory towers, not business settings. Featuring a «who’s who» of preeminent communication scholars/consultants, each author shares frameworks, strategies, and examples from their own diverse experiences, all grounded in rich, substantive theory and research. The volume offers even the most skilled and experienced consultants a range of alternative approaches, paradigms, and competencies to build their credibility and make them more valuable to their clients in a dynamic, ever-evolving business climate.
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Consulting That Matters: A Handbook for Scholars and Practitioners

In the title, Consulting That Matters: A Handbook for Scholars and Practitioners, the editors clearly identify their audience as both researchers and practitioners. Their premise is that the two roles, being an academic researcher and being a consultant, should be merged. The editors take the approach that using research and theory in consulting practices is critical. They claim that “working from a solid theoretical framework and thoughtfully allowing empirical knowledge to guide our decisions during consulting makes consultants credible, effective, and valuable to the organizations that seek their help.” This makes perfect sense and prepares the reader for an examination of theoretical frameworks used by consultants that may not be obvious without the scholar/practitioner revealing them.

Consulting is the application of organizational communication principles and theories to real-world problems. The fact that many of the most published organizational communication researchers also serve as consultants may not be well known. This book has asked a number of authors to describe how their research informs their consulting practices.

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