Alaric Bourgoin on Valuation Processes in Management Consulting

Alaric Bourgoin, doctoral research at the Center for the Sociology of Innovation and visiting fellow at the Department of Sociology of Harvard University, will be defending his doctoral work, titled Le conseil en management à l’épreuve de sa mise en valeur (“Valuation processes in management consulting”), on December 12, 2013, at Mines ParisTech. This thesis has played a crucial role in the formation of PERFORMABUSINESS‘s insights on the performative condition of management consulting.

The thesis explores the fabric of the “value” of management consulting. Getting around the classic opposition between a functionalist (rational-technical) and a critical (psycho-social) approach, the thesis understands to the practice of management consulting as a performance geared toward a practical efficacy. Based on lengthly participant observation in a large French consulting firm, the thesis scrutinizes specifically five processes that aim at prompting a sense of “added value”: the singularization of service, the rise in competence, the production of authority, the graphical presentation of assessment and the signaling of activity. The empirical study of such mechanisms fuels a pragmatist theory of value as a practical attachment and furthers understanding of the issues of business culture in contemporary capitalism.

A PDF version of the thesis shall be available soon on-line.