Ethics in Action
Edited by Mats Jutterström and Peter Norberg
Chapter 5: CSR and the consultancy sector – what is offered, and by whom?
Chapter 4 showed how management ideas, such as CSR, do not arise and spread on their own. Rather, the fact that organizations become aware of a particular idea is more a result of individual actors at a particular point in time beginning to demand, buy, produce, supply, market, sell, write about, comment on and consume a certain type of idea (cf. Furusten 2007). Management consultants have often been described as a driving force behind the emergence and diffusion of management ideas (Abrahamson 1991). However, research on how new services develop in consulting organizations (e.g. Anand et al. 2007; Heusinkveld and Benders 2005) gives us reason to question the image of consultants as isolated producers of management ideas, which are readily bought up by clients in need (cf. Furusten and Werr 2005, 2009). In this chapter, we wish to provide a nuanced view of the interaction of management ideas and the emergence of consulting services around these ideas. By shedding light on how the management idea of CSR has been received among suppliers of professional services, it is our aim to contribute to a better understanding of both CSR as a management idea and, more generally, of how management ideas emerge and spread. Previous research on management ideas and their relation to the consultancy industry has above all highlighted how consultants have contributed, in the initial stage, to the emergence and diffusion of ideas (Furusten 1999).
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