Last week, I explored the difference between an advisor and a consultant. The question stimulated a strong response (thank you!), thus this encore. The difference between a researcher and a consultant might seem to be more clear cut. Most of us think of researchers as those boffins that inhabit our learning institutions, whereas consultants are typically suited and found in business environments. Does that make them completely different beasts? Consider this:
At this level, the roles appear to be very similar, so are the two terms simply two different names for a very similar activity? Possibly, but I don't think so. A key difference between the roles is emphasis. A consultant is most interested in practice, and good consultants use theory to contribute to their work. In contrast, a researcher is most interested in theory (be it testing theories or developing new ones), and good researchers use data from practice to inform their work (testing theories or developing new theory).
The roles are different, but they are closely coupled. Given this, why do so many consultants look down their noses at academic researchers (and vice versa)?
Thanks for helping me understand that consultants would be interested in practice and they will ensure that they contribute to the work well. I guess having a research consultant when you have a business will lead to better outcomes for your operations. So I think they are worth it to hire when you want to open up a business.
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Thoughts on corporate governance, strategy and the craft of board work; our place in the world; and, other things that catch my attention.