Cycles and diamonds: how management consultants diverge and converge in organization design processes.

Klaasjan Visscher, O.A.M. Fisscher

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9 Citations (Scopus)


Divergence and convergence are both important elements of organizational design processes. This is often stated in the normative design literature, but it has hardly been studied empirically. How do designers of organizations diverge and converge in practice? Do they first develop alternatives and then choose the best one? Do they go through one or more successive cycles? And what makes them choose a certain route? In an in-depth study of management consulting, we identified five different routes for diverging and converging in practice: one route for simple situations and four routes for complex situations. These routes differ in their sequence of activities, in their use of alternative solutions, and in their focus on content or on politics. It is shown that most design processes appear diamond-shaped, with a divergent and a convergent side, but that these diamonds are often coloured or even fake, especially in socio-politically complex situations. Pseudo-divergence, i.e., the process of apparent divergence in public, is widespread.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)121-131
Number of pages11
JournalCreativity and innovation management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • IR-71785
  • METIS-257770

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