The legitimacy of American management knowledge. A study of the Norwegian consultancy field
AuthorHolmsen, Sachiko Kristin
The thesis addresses the question of why American knowledge and consulting practices are considered superior to the ones of local Norwegian actors. Americanization of the field of management consulting does not only include the domination of the American actors, but also the diffusion of American management knowledge through local actors. Why is it appropriate for Norwegian companies to structure themselves after American standards? The rational and new institutional perspectives expose appropriateness of American management knowledge. The rational perspective features how organizations strive for efficiency and employ management knowledge as tools to gain competitive advantages. The new institutional perspective exposes isomorphic behavior in organizational fields and how organizations use management knowledge as symbols of efficiency. Consultancies are one of the main carriers of such management knowledge. A presentation of the field of consultancy establishes a link between the demand for consultancy services and two perspectives. Furthermore, isomorphic behavior and legitimacy management reinforces the demand for consultancy services. The study was based on primary and secondary data. The primary data was gathered by surveying large Norwegian corporations about their use of management knowledge and consulting services. The secondary data included industry statistics and the consulting companies’ homepages. The analysis was carried out in three stages to examine different aspects of the research questions. The first stage analyzed the consulting industry statistics and services offered and confirmed the American dominance in the Norwegian market. The second stage examined the respondents own awareness and use of management knowledge and consultancies. The third and final stage featured several multiple regression analyses which indicated if rational or symbolic motives steered the adoption of new management knowledge and use of consultancies. The empirical findings reveal that the dominance of American management knowledge and consultancies rests on reputable and symbolic values. Organizations may believe that they behave rationally, but my examination concludes that they face a complex predicament in their quest for legitimacy.
PublisherUniversitetet i Tromsø
University of Tromsø
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