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Systemic concepts of intervention


Seidl, D; Mohe, M (2009). Systemic concepts of intervention. In: Buono, A; Poulfelt, F. Client-consultant collaboration: Coping with complexity and change. Greenwich: Information Age Pub., 47-68.

Abstract

Over the last two decades a new approach to consulting has been established that is referred to as “systemic consulting”. This approach to consulting seems to exist almost exclusively within the German-speaking consulting. Systemic consulting is a clearly differentiated approach that has long occupied a rather insignificant niche in the consulting market. In contrast to traditional approaches, systemic consultants emphasize the self-referential logic of the client, acknowledging the limits of any attempts at direct intervention. In line with this position, consultants believe that their role is not to support clients to find solutions to their problems, but rather to cause perturbations in the clients’ internal processes in order to break up their pathological structures. While this approach has received a lot of attention in the German-speaking countries, particularly among academics, it is almost unknown elsewhere. The chapter examines this systemic approach, drawing out its strengths and limitations. For this purpose, its two central theoretical roots are highlighted: the family therapy of the so-called “Milan school” and the theory of social systems developed by the German sociologist Niklas Luhmann. The chapter is structured in four sections. The first two sections present the two central pillars of the systemic approach. The third section examines the systemic consulting approach and the last section of the chapter discusses its strengths and limitations.

Over the last two decades a new approach to consulting has been established that is referred to as “systemic consulting”. This approach to consulting seems to exist almost exclusively within the German-speaking consulting. Systemic consulting is a clearly differentiated approach that has long occupied a rather insignificant niche in the consulting market. In contrast to traditional approaches, systemic consultants emphasize the self-referential logic of the client, acknowledging the limits of any attempts at direct intervention. In line with this position, consultants believe that their role is not to support clients to find solutions to their problems, but rather to cause perturbations in the clients’ internal processes in order to break up their pathological structures. While this approach has received a lot of attention in the German-speaking countries, particularly among academics, it is almost unknown elsewhere. The chapter examines this systemic approach, drawing out its strengths and limitations. For this purpose, its two central theoretical roots are highlighted: the family therapy of the so-called “Milan school” and the theory of social systems developed by the German sociologist Niklas Luhmann. The chapter is structured in four sections. The first two sections present the two central pillars of the systemic approach. The third section examines the systemic consulting approach and the last section of the chapter discusses its strengths and limitations.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Business Administration
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Language:English
Date:2009
Deposited On:23 Feb 2010 14:39
Last Modified:18 Aug 2016 07:55
Publisher:Information Age Pub.
Series Name:Research in Management Consulting
ISBN:978-1-60752-208-9
Official URL:http://www.infoagepub.com/products/Client-Consultant-Collaboration
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-29736

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