Why do Consultants Perform Better than Academic Advisers?
Chapter 4: Espoused Theory of Advice Argumentation
Although consultants and academic advisers discuss the same economic questions, their approach will be different if their professional ethos is different. Ethos generates an image about the character of someone who speaks or writes (Aristotle, 1991, p. 1356a), which of course applies to consultants and academic advisers. Ethos determines a character that clients or audiences can recognize. Someone can have a truth-loving character, a friendly character or a helping character depending on the values she identifies with. Professional ethos therefore is the value system that guides the practice of professionals like consultants or academic advisers. The analysis of ethos can explain why authors prefer one approach over another by reference to the moral or scientific standards they identify with. Because values can explain what is important to a particular profession, they can also explain why academics consider consultant knowledge biased or flawed: consultants ignore some of the standards academic advisers identify with. Ethos can also explain why consultants do not heed these criticisms: consultants consider other values more important. The previous chapters referred to academic debates about positivist and instrumental economic advice and to advice from a post-positivist perspective in the philosophical, rhetorical and social science literature. They presented arguments to doubt the appropriateness of the dominant instrumentalist view on economic advice. A next step is to ask practicing advisers about their professional values. How do consultants and academic advisers reflect on the way they support their advice with arguments? How should advice be written down? What kind of arguments...
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