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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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Chapter Fourteen: Providing Research Services for Clients



Providing Research Services for Clients


Michigan State University

“Serious academics write journal articles, not books. Serious academics write data-based papers, not essays…” And so the conversation would go as Nick Henry and I sat together chuckling over lunch. I was a young assistant professor at Arizona State University (ASU), and Nick was the Dean of our college, the College of Public Programs. The fact that both Nick and I grew up in and around St. Louis, Missouri meant, among other things, that we rooted for the same baseball team, knew or knew about some of the same people, could argue whether Phil the Gorilla or Blondie the Python was a bigger attraction at the St. Louis Zoo, and could voice reasoned opinions on the merits and limitations of restaurants located in the Central West End. That explained why a Dean would have lunch with a lowly assistant professor. The game developed from these lunches, and we played it almost every time that we lunched together. The goal was to generate a new statement that characterized the stereotypical view of what was considered a “serious academic” at that time. Had we both stayed at ASU, and had we continued the game, one of the statements might have been “Serious academics do NOT consult.” Of course, we were being facetious. Nick wrote books, and good ones. I wrote some essays. Back then, however, I would have agreed...

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