Hired to be fired? Exploring top management team use of consultants as professional scapegoats

Matthew Semadeni, Ryan Krause

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper explores the risk-mitigating benefits of management consultant use by top management teams (TMTs). It is argued that in addition to the traditional factors surrounding management consultant use (e.g., expert advice, time compression diseconomies, and social capital), top managers hire management consultants to mitigate risks involved with implementing the difficult change. Management consultants provide expert sensemaking to the organization that can be crafted to support the agenda of top management. Additionally, management consultants are expendable to the client organization, and this allows them to be used to effectuate experimental and risky organizational, technological, or strategic change. Finally, given that management consultants are expendable, they provide excellent scapegoats to top management if the desired outcomes are not achieved. Moreover, management consultant teams (MCTs) and management consultant firms (MCFs) are minimally affected by a client firm's scapegoating. The paper closes with a discussion of implications and future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAcademy of Management 2011 Annual Meeting - West Meets East: Enlightening. Balancing. Transcending, AOM 2011
PublisherAcademy of Management
DOIs
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes
Event71st Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management - West Meets East: Enlightening, Balancing, Transcending, AOM 2011 - San Antonio, TX, United States
Duration: Aug 12 2011Aug 16 2011

Other

Other71st Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management - West Meets East: Enlightening, Balancing, Transcending, AOM 2011
CountryUnited States
CitySan Antonio, TX
Period8/12/118/16/11

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Keywords

  • Management consultants
  • Scapegoating
  • Top Management Teams

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Management of Technology and Innovation
  • Industrial relations

Cite this

Semadeni, M., & Krause, R. (2011). Hired to be fired? Exploring top management team use of consultants as professional scapegoats. In Academy of Management 2011 Annual Meeting - West Meets East: Enlightening. Balancing. Transcending, AOM 2011 Academy of Management. https://doi.org/10.5464/AMBPP.2011.144.a