5. Defining the Client: A Different Perspective

Over the many years of my work in organization development (OD), I (Burke) have overheard or taken part in numerous discussions about “Who is the client?” Is the client the head person, the boss, a particular unit or group, or the total system? In these discussions, OD practitioners have identified at least one of the above.

Let me be concrete by using an actual case, a consulting project of mine a few years ago, with a small, highly technical company, a subsidiary of a large corporation. I was introduced to the president by an employee relations person to explore the possibility of working with the company. Contracting with the president and later with his top group went fairly smoothly. After ...

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