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“You call it a structure taboo!” Relating consultant experiences to changing dynamics in healthcare

Antonie van Nistelrooij (Department of Organization Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
Thijs Homan (Open University of the Netherlands, Heerlen, The Netherlands)

Journal of Organizational Change Management

ISSN: 0953-4814

Article publication date: 1 March 2019




The purpose of this paper is to provide a comprehensive reflective perspective on the effects of an intervention in a healthcare organization, as experienced by a consultant. What does a consultant experience when things flounder?


This paper applies a complex responsive process approach as a research perspective and autoethnography as a method to better understand the tensions of a consultant in interacting with members of a client-system.


Focusing on the experiences of the first author during his work as a consultant in a healthcare institution. This approach contributes to the literature by providing a witness, rather than an aboutness, perspective on the experiences of a consultant during a completely unexpected event.

Research limitations/implications

This paper is limited by looking at one case in the public sector. It should be considered as exploratory research.


The paper can be of value to consultants who are working as a facilitator, as well as to management scholars and practitioners in the field of change management.



van Nistelrooij, A. and Homan, T. (2019), "“You call it a structure taboo!” Relating consultant experiences to changing dynamics in healthcare", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 32 No. 2, pp. 182-193.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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