Gi'r det mening? Om validitet i konsulentens arbejde

Student thesis: Master Thesis and HD Thesis

  • Hanne Toft Andersen
  • Dorte Sveistrup
4. term, Learning and Innovative Change, Master (Master Programme)
This thesis deals with the validity of the work of the consultant. The thesis and the attached empirical work have come about starting from the theory of reality and the conceptualising method, as it is developed by Henriksen et al. in the book Dimensions of Change. This method’s objective is to offer an approach for organisations, which can capture changes. The essence of the theory of reality is that reality consists of an integration of facts, logic, values and communication. In keeping with the method, the approach to the finished project and the work on the thesis have focused on the organisation’s language as a means to solving problems and integration of reality. With the help of insight into the organisation’s language, the aim is insight into key problem areas and thereby access in order to solve the discovered problems through the introduction of the necessary language for this purpose. This insight together with the introduction to the new language happens through joint conceptualisation, which means a continuous common conceptualisation of central elements in the organisation’s reality between the organisation’s actors and the consultant. Therefore the approach is focused on the organisation’s actors to access the organisation’s reality. The thesis’ empirical work consists of a completed and evaluated development project at Skattecenter Aalborg (a department of the Danish taxation authorities) in the autumn of 2006. With a view to provide breeding ground for an idea culture amongst employees in the organisation, conversations were completed with nineteen employees in the form of semi-structured interviews. The themes of the conversations were gathered in the narrative “The story of Skattecenter Aalborg” as the foundation for two subsequent workshops with the same nineteen employees. In spite of good contact with the employees who participated, the project did not gain sufficient recognition with the management to bring about the alterations in the organisation’s language and reality, which according to the method is the requirement for a project to be viewed as valid. The possible explanations for the limited validity of the project is discussed and analysed in the thesis in light of the theory of reality and through the involvement of two further theoretical perspectives; Wengers theory concerning communities of practice and Habermas’ theory about lifeworld and system. Out of these boundaries of understanding it is investigated and discussed, how conditions in the organisation, the method used and the consultant’s role are significant for the completed project’s validity. The analysis of the three perspectives points at the conceptualising method as a suitable method in regards to the project. However, the available language at Skattecenter Aalborg, together with the consultant’s insufficient attention to this, causes the project to become imbalanced regarding the involvement of the organisation’s actors. The focus remains on the employees and their perspective. In this way, the consultants do not receive enough insight into the management’s language, and at the same time the management does not gain access to the language, which is introduced in the project. The above has two possible consequences, which both are plausible reasons for the project’s limited validity: · The management did not understand the project’s conclusions, because it did not gain access to the language, which these conclusions were a result of. Or · The management did not want to understand the project’s conclusions, as an acceptance of these is an acceptance of that there are other versions of “The story of Skattecenter Aalborg” than the official one. In a concluding perspective, the thesis’ conclusions point to the need for the external consultant to pay a great deal of attention to the context, which she has to take a position on together with her own position in the organisation.
Publication date2007
Number of pages127
Publishing institutionAalborg Universitet
ID: 10325165