Question 1:"I do a fair amount of corporate culture consulting – it is one of the more legalized ways of stealing in the nineties. " (Tom Peters)Critically appraise the above comment, drawing on theory and example from organizations, and identify how consultants can sure that their clients receive full value from the work they do for them. Answer 1:You are being asked to provide your own view of Tom Peters rather cynical remark about the consulting profession. So you should indicate to what extent you agree/disagree with what he is saying.
You must justify your view, and this is where we expect you to make use of "theory and example from organizations" to support your argument. I disagree with the view of Tom Peters saying that “I do a fair amount of corporate culture consulting- it is one of the more legalized ways of stealing in the nineties”. First, the definition of consultation and the role of the consultant has changed significantly since its inception. Early definitions presented the consultant primarily as a one on one content expert. Later developments influenced by Caplan (1970) and Schein (1969) suggested that the consultant must also be a process helper.
From these beginnings emerged today's definitions of process helping and collaborative consultation. In a recent centennial issue of the Consulting Psychology Journal (1992) seven "experts" in the field of consultation were asked to define consultation. Although the authors represented many different disciplines, their definitions were surprisingly similar. There were differences, however, that were highlighted by each author. One statement was selected from each definition as a way to show the uniqueness that surfaced in each.
These are (a) provide information, advise, or help; (b) provide an outside gestalt; (c) provide a theory of process and organizational functioning; (d) rely on the use of multiple models; (e) require a strong conceptual process; (f) create a foundation for understanding interrelationships among the different ways to view organizational phenomena; and (f) show how generic knowledge is transmitted from consultant to the consultee system. In general, consultants help consultees to think of their immediate problem as part of the larger system, and not only to understand how problems are solved but also to understand how they were developed, maintained, or avoided (Kurpius and Fuqua, 1993).
Therefore, as a consultant, one should never steal the client’s property and should abide to ethical standards. Second, Tom Peters has a record of unethically making up data in his best sellin g book, namely In Search of Excellence last two decades ago. The book was authored by Tom Peters and Robert Waterman, McKinsey & Co. consultants and it became immediately one of the best-sellers list. The book is a must-to-read for every one in the discipline of management.
They became gurus in those days and their philosophy still remained in an era of management gurus, management fads, and popular business books. Now Peters, 59, shockingly admitted that underlying data in their breakthrough book was falsified. It has been for many years that many researchers and academics in the management disciplines assumed that the authors genuinely employed standard research methods in order to screen the excellent companies from the database. However, they now admitted that they simply asked their McKinsey colleagues and other smart people for the names of companies doing cool work.
They obtained a list containing 62 organizations for financial performance over a twenty year period. Among the companies included in the list, 43 companies ranging from Johnson & Johnson to Intel Corp were whittled. Academics sniffed that their work in the book was superficially done and it obviously lacked rigorous research methods. It was evidenced that many of the companies which were extolled as best fell on hard times as soon after the book was published including Amdahl and Data General (Business Week, 2001).