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Knowledge Transfer, Consulting Modes and Learning Do the Codes of Conduct and Ethics Reflect Reality in Management Consulting?

Marjatte Maula and Flemming Poulfelt
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Marjatte Maula: Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy, Copenhagen Business School, Postal: Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy, Copenhagen Business School, Blaagaardsgade 23 B, DK-2200 Copenhagen N, Denmark
Flemming Poulfelt: Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy, Copenhagen Business School, Postal: Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy, Copenhagen Business School, Blaagaardsgade 23 B, DK-2200 Copenhagen N, Denmark

No 9/2000, Working Papers from Copenhagen Business School, Department of Management, Politics & Philosophy

Abstract: The management consulting firms’ competence and capacity to provide high quality services and thereby create, transfer and develop managerial knowledge have an important role for the client firms and the society. The international management consulting associations have formulated Codes of Conduct and Codes of Ethics that aim to regulate and provide guidelines for the management consulting firms’ activities. This paper investigates whether there is a fit between the Codes and (a) the current modes of management consulting, and (b) the needs of the consulting firms to learn and develop continually their knowledge base and competencies. The analysis indicates that the majority of the Codes tend to support one-directional, i.e., ‘directive’, ‘content-based’, and ‘transplantation-based’ type of consulting. In the cases where the Codes recommend interaction, they could emphasize two-directionality and mutual interaction between the consultant and the client more clearly and explicitly, in the spirit of ‘non-directive’, ‘process-based’, and ‘translation-based’ consulting models. As to the development of the consulting firms’ knowledge and competencies, the analysis reveals that the Codes emphasize necessary qualifications and the quality of advice. With two exceptions the Codes do not directly and explicitly indicate the dynamic aspect, i.e., that the consulting firms should develop their skills and knowledge continually. Also, there is variation concerning the methods to develop competencies. Therefore, there are several unutilized opportunities to develop the Codes to meet better the needs of the knowledge society.

Keywords: Knowledge transfer; Codes of conduct; Ethics; Management consulting (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-mic
Date: 2000-08-01
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