In this article, we analyze approaches for identifying and transferring "best practices." The relevant literature shows that both, the identification and the transfer practices, are extremely difficult processes. Nevertheless, management consultants position themselves and are seen by others as specialists in identifying and transferring effective or even best practices. We analyze qualitative (interviews) and quantitative (survey) data on the ways in which German management consultants specializing on strategy and process design try to identify and transfer "best practices." Our results document that consultants neither agree on the methods with which to identify best practices nor on the possibilities to transfer them between organizations within one or between different industries. We show that attempts to transfer best practices are hampered with severe stickiness--even for consultants. We conclude that best practices are mere marketing constructs of management consultants and suggest reframing discussions on them around organizational routines and rules. Copyright 2011 The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Associazione ICC. All rights reserved., Oxford University Press.
Industrial and Corporate Change is edited by David Teece, Glenn R. Carroll, Nick Von Tunzelmann, Giovanni Dosi and Franco Malerba
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