Knowledge, Action, Value: Management consultants involvement in innovation processes

Albert Elverdam-Mattsson

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis analyzes management consultants’ activities in business process innovation projects and how these activities are of value to their clients. Given that value is a tentative and relational concept I build my approach on a client perspective of value creation. Knowledge intensive business services (KIBS) in general and management consultants in particular are expected to provide their clients with knowledge. Prior research on the subject has consequently focused on how management consultants generate knowledge for their clients and what kinds of knowledge they provide. Similar to prior conceptions of management consultants’ value adding activities, this thesis builds on the notion that knowledge creation leads to value creation. Two theoretical perspectives are employed to develop how knowledge creation leads to value creation and how this process is structured. These are Nonaka & Takeuchi’s (1995) framework of organizational knowledge creation and Blackler’s (1995) conceptualization of knowledge creation as knowing. In order to analyze how knowledge creation leads to value creation, Nonaka & Takeuchi’s (1995) framework is mobilized to explain the conversion between different knowledge forms and how this process is structured. Blackler’s (1995) conceptualization of knowing is used to explain how we can understand knowledge as an active and action-oriented process. As a result this thesis identifies three key notions: (1) knowledge creation is constituted in the client-consultant relationship through an active and dialogue based process; (2) the explication of contrasting perspectives facilitates opportunities for learning and so forth the creation of new knowledge, and; (3) conceptions drive action and action is in turn the focal point for value creation. Based on these perceptions I suggest that management consultants add value when they construct purposive- and object-oriented communal narratives, because the communal narratives drive collective action and thus create value.

EducationsMSocSc in Organisational Innovation and Entrepreneurship , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2014
Number of pages316