Management consultancy in small firms: how does interaction work?

Poul Rind Christensen (Department of Management and International Business, Aarhus School of Business, Aarhus, Denmark)
Kim Klyver (Department of Entrepreneurship and Relationship Management, University of Southern Denmark, Kolding, Denmark)

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development

ISSN: 1462-6004

Publication date: 1 July 2006



The aim of the article is to explore the dynamics of the management consulting process for small firms as an outcome of interactive processes.


The explorative study is based on a summary sketch of an interactive research project (LOS) in which small firms and their interactions with management consultants were studied in a three‐year perspective. The theoretical framework employed is based on the industrial network theory.


The study suggests that clients are co‐producers of the consulting process. Therefore, management consulting in a interactive perspective has important elements of trailing, i.e. changing the frames of reference of the consulting process and creating room for consulting in which the consultant, as well as the client, allow themselves to experiment with their professional foundations. However, it is also suggested that innovative learning processes are difficult to foster in management consulting processes.

Research limitations/implications

The empirical foundation of this explorative study is limited and thus invites to further interactive studies along the paradigm of action research.

Practical implications

Based on the findings, it seems important that both clients and consultants accept the consulting process as a co‐productive process, and that they find a way to work out the expectation gap at the beginning of the process.


The study adopts an industrial network perspective on the consulting process. In this perspective social exchange and adaptation processes among actors, i.e. consultant and client are in focus.



Rind Christensen, P. and Klyver, K. (2006), "Management consultancy in small firms: how does interaction work?", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 299-313.

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Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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