Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: The consultant-client relationship in small business : the role of the personal business adviser and implications for owner-manager learning
Author: Malone, Stephen A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2724 9201
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2009
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
This research examines a type of consultant-client relationship in small business with a focus on client learning. The client is a small business owner-manager and the consultant is a government sponsored adviser, termed a personal business adviser or PBA. The introductory part of the thesis sets out the context to the research and the aim and objectives. The nature and influence of business support and enterprise is then explained, before reviewing the literature on the role of the PBA and owner manager learning as part of a critical social process. The aim of the thesis is to improve present understanding of the PBA/owner-manager relationship and social learning within it. Thus there is a critical evaluation of what makes a good relationship and the process(es) of learning. A combination of open-ended and semi-structured interviews is undertaken longitudinally with twenty-one participants; thirteen owner-managers and eight PBAs. Personal experience as an ex-PBA is also integrated as a form of auto-ethnography. The interviews are analysed using a symbolic interactionist framework and constructivist grounded theory (Charmaz, 2000; Glaser and Strauss, 1967). The concepts of language, drama and power are pivotal. 1 It has been discovered that the constructive and emergent nature of roles/identities of the participants are crucial to forming entrepreneurial knowledge and a successful relationship. This means that routinely accepted modernist ideas of objective knowledge and individual cognitive conceptions are undermined by this thesis in the entrepreneurial arena. The significance of discourse in. the sensemaking and relationship-building process between the client and consultant suggests the need to adopt constructivist theory as a central mechanism by which owner-managers learn. Discourse, drama and dependence do much to explain the nature of the relationship and owner-manager learning within it and it is contended that a social constructionist approach is vital to enhancing understanding in a dynamic business environment. The work therefore provides a better appreciation of learning and consulting in the small business context and it thus helps inform academics, policy makers and practitioners interested in business support.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available