Organizational Consultation: An Appreciative Approach–III. Four Models of Consultation
No one can, or should, abandon those models that serve as organizing principles for a consultation. Nevertheless, one should be aware of the nature and impact of the model that is prevalent in one’s own work and recognize the value of alternative change models. These strategies and models resemble scientific models in that they are working hypotheses that need to be continuously (dis)proven, and are critical to understanding any organizational consulting process. .
Most of the strategies and assumptions one could call “models” of organizational consultation seem to differ from one another in the ways in which one assists one’s client and in terms of the basic assumption which a consultant or human/organizational resource developer makes about change. One can penetrate into the approaches being taken by organizational consultants to discover differences among (1) those practitioners who help to bring about a specific change in the client system, (2) those practitioners who are advocates of, but do not initiate, a specific change in the system, (3) those practitioners who advocate no specific change but begin with the assumption that change in the system is required, and (4) those practitioners who neither advocate a specific change nor begin with the assumption that the system needs to change.
We turn now to a fuller description of the four models of consultation. Each of the four models holds a set of assumptions about change, about evolution and revolution, and even about the movement between first and second order change (see essay two). Each of these four models is appropriate in some setting and creates some major problems in other areas. We will first turn to Model One.
Model I Consultation
Model One assumes that one should take immediate and primary responsibility for any change that is to take place in the life of a person or in the life of an organization. One changes things by doing it himself or herself, rather than by somehow convincing other people that they should implement it. The Model One practitioner is an administrator, an implementer, an activist. Typically, the Model One practitioner serves in the role(s) of expert, designer and/or controller. Usually, the Model One consultant is in the business of Level One Change—in large part because this practitioner has become part of the system that is being changed.