Who put the con in consultancy? Fads, recipes and 'vodka margarine'

David Collins*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


This article assesses the merits of analyses that have called for a more developed and constructive engagement with the management advice industry. It argues that attempts to reconstitute academic interest in the advice industry will do little to improve our appreciation of the complex and mediated nature of management advice so long as these (i) remain tied to a debunking agenda and (ii) focus exclusively on the production of advice. Accordingly, the article refocuses attention on the consumption of management knowledge and on the users of advice. Directing attention to the users of recipes and cookbooks the article argues that a more constructive relationship with management practitioners awaits those who can conceive of the reasons, circumstances and processes that might translate business process reengineering (BPR) into total quality management (TQM) and 'brandy butter' into vodka margarine'.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)553-572
Number of pages20
JournalHuman Relations
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2004
Externally publishedYes


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