Jean‐Pascal Gond, Luc Brès, Szilvia Mosonyi

Consultants as discreet corporate change agents for sustainability: Transforming organizations from the outside‐in

  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Philosophy
  • Business and International Management

AbstractDespite their central role in the construction and development of the market for virtues as well as in the design, implementation, and evaluation of corporate sustainability strategies and governmental sustainability policies, sustainability consultants remain at best “hidden” corporate change agents. In this paper, we bring sustainability consultants back to the fore to account for how these actors discreetly regulate and shape contemporary sustainability transformations from the outside‐in. We do so first by unpacking various roles of consultants as engineers, market builders, power vehicles, boundary workers, issue translators, and soft regulators; then we conceptualize how, through these roles, they contribute to empowering, legitimizing but also potentially supplanting and undermining the activities of corporate change agents operating inside corporations. We finally propose some research orientations for studying further the role of sustainability consultants in corporate transformations toward sustainability.

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