Aspen Conference Proceedings

Engaging Academics in Business Practices


     Recent attacks on three academic fields center on the fascinating and complex issue of engagement with organizations in the public and private sectors of the U.S. The first we shall consider is an article by Stephen John Hartnett, “Communication, Social Justice, and Joyful Commitment,” a revised version of his keynote address at the Rocky Mountain Communication 2008 Conference.  The second is an article by Louis Menands in which he summarizes a number of book-length criticisms of the field of psychiatry and its relationship to the pharmaceutical industry.  The third is a book that will receive the greater part of our attention, a book by Matthew Stewart, The Management Myth: Why the Experts Keep Getting it Wrong.  We shall consider each of these three criticisms, present our own position, and then attempt to provide a codification of ethics for engagement.  The first author is a professor emeritus of organizational communication whose mentor, W. Charles Redding, preached that the field should mightily resist a pro-management bias.  The second author is working on a Ph.D. in organizational communication while serving as a professional member of a consulting company.


     Stephen Hartnett’s autobiographical and sermonic essay makes four main points about his own academic field—communication—two of which are more relevant to this paper than the others.  The first is that while urging his colleagues to become engaged by teaching communication skills to those most in need—women, minorities, those out of work and those in prisons—so that democracy is better served, he attacks the people he calls “theory wolves.”   Theory wolves are those “who have learned to play the tenure game for their own benefit while producing works about tendential subjects for miniscule audiences engaged in no real-world struggle” (Hartnett, 2010, p. 72).  He refers to them as the “postmodern cynics” (p. 73); we quote: “When tax dollars are poured into departments that celebrate faculty who produce jargon-riddled nonsense that treats the rest of the world as so much roadkill, it should come as no surprise to find politicians (and some students’ parents) screeching about the inanity and even depravity of intellectuals” (p. 75).  While we concur in this concern about a lack of engagement, we hasten to stress our absolute agreement that “we need to be equally careful not to allow such critiques of over-the-top theory wolves to slip into an across-the-board anti-intellectualism” (p. 75).

After unequivocally voicing his complaints about this form of disengagement, Hartnett dialectically attacks others of his colleagues who are engaged with what he claims are the wrong kind of organizations. While preaching that academics in communication should pursue social justice, he decries those of his colleagues “who have worked either as consultants for the state or as the servants of monster corporations that make millions of dollars by exploiting the labor of those invisible workers most communication scholars will never see, hear from, or think about” (p. 72).  He also criticizes colleagues who feed off “grants and contracts” from state and corporate interests.  Reading the announcements of recent grant recipients in any issue of Spectra makes it “clear where many of our colleague’s (sic) solidarities lie” (p. 72).

Later in this paper we shall address the issue of consulting, its uses and abuses, but for now we feel it necessary to point out that in a democracy, engagement should be encouraged with all segments of society. Moreover, not all grants and contracts benefit only one class of society.


     “Head Case: Can psychiatry be a science?”  This is the clever title of a serious look at the field of psychiatry by Louis Menands, critic-at-large for the New Yorker magazine.  By 2005, one out of every ten Americans had an antidepressant prescription.  Consulting over fifteen books and many articles and research monographs, Menands summarizes the current plight of the field in this way:


There is suspicion that the pharmaceutical industry is cooking the books that                      prove that antidepressant drugs are safe and effective, and that the industry’s             direct-to-consumer advertising is encouraging people to demand pills to cure               conditions that are not diseases (like shyness) or to get through ordinary life                problems (like being laid off).  The Food and Drug Administration has been                       accused of setting the bar too low for the approval of brand-name drugs.  Critics               claim that health-care organizations are corrupted by industry largesse, and that                     conflict-of-interest rules are lax or nonexistent.  Within the profession, the manual                     that prescribes the criteria for official diagnoses, the Diagnostic and Statistical                    Manual of Mental Disorders, known as the D.S.M., has been under criticism for                        decades.  And doctors prescribe antidepressants for patients who are not suffering                        from depression.  People take antidepressants for eating disorders, panic attacks,               premature ejaculation, and alcoholism (Menands, 2010, p. 68).


These books are being written not by sociologists, or other troublemakers, but by people within the profession of psychiatry. Similar to Hartnett, they are calling out their own profession, conducting a critique from within the walls in their reports that call into question their own colleagues and practices. Conducting studies that show a low reliability among psychiatrists in making diagnoses, some of these researchers think that depression is a sane reaction to an insane world.  Moreover, meta-analyses of the original studies of antidepressants suggest that such drugs have primarily a placebo effect.  Finally, spending nearly ten billion dollars a year on worthless pills is one more problem that could bring our health-care system into bankruptcy.

Engagement is an issue in this controversy, one we call a kind of reverse engagement. Psychiatry has been penetrated by the promiscuous pharmaceutical industry, and so has the F.D.A. to some extent.  “The F.D.A. did not permit direct-to-consumer—‘Ask your doctor’—advertising until 1985, but the tranquilizer manufacturers invested heavily in promotion.  They sent ‘detail men’—that is, salesmen—to teach physicians about the wonders of their medications” (p. 72).  And, as mentioned above, it is the pharmaceutical industry that conducts the studies that determine whether or not the psychiatrists can prescribe the drugs to their patients.

A large part of the controversy can be said to turn on the definition of science.  Critics of psychiatry who say it is not a science are not against science.  “On the contrary: they hold an exaggerated view of what science, certainly medical science, and especially the science of mental health, can be” (Menands, p. 73, emphasis in the original).  Menands, himself a humanist, thinks the critics are too much oriented to biology, the first of three fields that intersect mental disorders. The other two are the psychological conditions experienced cognitively and emotionally, and then the moral conditions that involve us in matters such as “personal agency and responsibility, social norms and values, and character, and these all vary as cultures vary” (p. 74).

Care must be taken, however, that likewise like Hartnett’s qualification of his attack on theory wolves, critiques of doctors quick to prescribe medication should not be allowed to slip into an across-the-board general condemnation of an entire profession and practices of medicating certain conditions.  Menands does point out that the recommendation from people who have written about their own experience of depression is clear: Take the pills.  The decisions to take the meds or not is so complicated, he concludes, that no science can ever make them.  That is why we have philosophy, literature, social sciences, and humanities.


     The third critique of academic engagement, the main focus of our critique, came to our attention via an essay-review in The New Yorker written by Jill Lepore, who like Menands is one of the magazine’s critics-at-large.  She is also a professor of history at Harvard University. From her remarks we learned that Matthew Stewart’s book, The Management Myth, was an expose of the management consulting business, management theory, and the business schools that produce the theories and the consultants.  After reading the Myth carefully we made a search for related literature such as reviews of the book, interviews with the author, and articles by him. It is clear in retrospect that perhaps the most important target of his slings and arrows is not the consulting company; rather, it is the business school itself.  A piece written by Stewart for The Big Money (3/25/09), “RIP, MBA,” defines the management myth as “the idea that there is some specialized, teachable body of expertise that constitutes management” (p. 2).  Furthermore, interlaced throughout several publications by Stewart is an attack on the construct of management as a science, seen in his condemnation of Taylor’s “experiments”. He also points to the backgrounds of himself and his colleagues as lacking any ‘real’ education in management, indicating that it does not require a specialized education to be proficient (as he claims he was at least financially, routinely getting paid a lot to practice his profession). Yet, business schools continue to churn out MBAs stamped with approval as having been educated in something he was easily able to perform for remuneration with an advanced education in philosophy. This conundrum is explored further in his book, and is a theme throughout his articles.

The reviews and articles helped us better understand his rather complex book, one in which chapters drawing on his experiences as a management consultant alternate with chapters about management “science,” giving the reader the impression that it is a narrative in real time, that he was involved in both activities at the same time.  In an article called “The Management Myth,” published three years before the book with the same title, he said he spent seven years as a management consultant, and it was only after he left the consulting business that he began to read the history of management theory. We shall make our analysis by considering his activities as a consultant as they actually unfolded over time and only then looking at his reading of the management literature and claims against the business schools.

Stewart was a graduate student in philosophy, an ABD (all but dissertation) in 1992 when he ran out of money.  He applied for a job in a consulting company, among many other possibilities and was taken aback when he was offered a starting salary of $75,000, which felt to him at the time an astonishing amount for someone who knew nothing about consulting. He took the job, learning spreadsheets and algorithms that were “far beyond the power of ordinary clients to comprehend” (p. 20). A consistent theme throughout his writing is the inability of his clients to perceive what is happening around them and a general contempt for their intellectual capabilities – not dissimilar from the idea that psychiatric patients are in no position to assess whether their prescribed medications are appropriate for their condition.  One of the diagnostic models that he called the “whale” revealed that 20% of a client’s customers supplied 80% of their revenues. Clients were shocked to learn of this “problem” and asked for help in solving it. (note, Phil, when I read this section I laughed at Stewart’s arrogance – this is a common trope in the industry, and he and I have been in it the same timeline, so it isn’t like they were leading this thought devleopment – trust me when I tell you it was nothing new, even in the early 90s.  I read it as self-aggrandizement and an over-inflated sense of smart. I’m uncomfortable writing about it as fact without dealing with what feels to me like Stewart’s really out of control ego)  Later Stewart discovered that the principle of the whale model was routinely applied to just about any business, good or bad. Eventually he learned that it fit his own consulting company.  He did not report that anyone was shocked, nor did they ask for help from a consulting company.  (I need to look it up, but I think they actually did have organizational consultant come in towards the end?)

He watched a senior colleague repeatedly put a fat hand on data that did not fit his analysis—a “two-handed regression.”   The climax of a whale hunt for a client was the “kill,” Stewart’s metaphor for the “predatory foundations of our success” (p. 83). He realized that he had joined a “priestly caste” with an “aura of sacred mystery.”  He also learned that the longer he talked to a client “the more we billed” (p. 80).  Like many of his colleagues, he eventually fell into the routine of travel, becoming so successful that he could afford to be homeless, paying no rent for a year while he lived in hotel rooms paid for by his company’s clients (shades of George Clooney in the film “Up in the Air.”)  Stewart has little or nothing to say by way of respect for his colleagues and their activities during his narration.  In 1994 he became a freelance consultant after being offered $1,500 a day by a recruiter.  He calculated that his clients would be paying $4,000 a day for his services as a risk management expert, an area in which he had never done any work.

He got involved in an attempt to organize a consulting company that used as an appeal the “Ponzi-style illusion among prospective partners” (p. 192).  After he tried to unseat those at the top of the pyramid, he found that they retaliated by not paying his salary. In spite of not getting paid, he continued to help his clients, feeling that he had an obligation to finish the work he had committed to them, in spite of his claims in the book that he recognized the work was somewhere between useless and limited in value.

When he eventually realized he would not get paid and was at what he felt to be a logical break with his clients, he had time to read the history of management “science” and write his book.  His unrelenting attack on consulting companies even gets into personal ethics: “Among the partners and senior consultants in the New Yorkoffice, a 1-2-3rule applied. For every 1 consultant there were roughly 2 marriages and 3 extramarital affairs. Not all of them were consensual” (p. 140).  It comes then as a shock to read the following sentence in a summing-up section of the book: “Most managers, consultants, and MBAs, to be sure, are good people and do good work.  But the alarming reality is that these comforting facts obtain despite, rather than because of, the education these folks receive and the ideology they share” (p. 286).  Like Hackett, he can’t quite drive the last nail into the coffin he has crafted for his colleagues, acknowledging through a slight nod their humanity rather than risking it all in holding to the sweeping and generalized condemnation in the rest of the book.  (note: Phil, I’m looking for some statistics about the background of most management consultants. In my experience, not all of them have business undergrad degrees, and certainly not all have MBAs (I knew VPs at my old company who started at the bottom with associate degrees as a matter of fact, and learned the business from the ground up) – I think Stewart is wrong in his implication that the education they receive is so consistent. I would speculate that many of my colleagues don’t know who Fredrick Taylor is, for example. Not sure if that’s a problem or not….)

Thus, in the end Stewart prefers to shift the brunt of his charges from the consultants and their practices to what he sees as the source: the business schools, the professors, and their theories of management.  Nonetheless, his charges against the consultants remain, and we shall have to evaluate them as well as his attacks on theory.  It was only after he left the consulting business that he began to read the management literature.  He began his self-education program in the history of management thought with the father of Scientific Management, Frederick Winslow Taylor.  It was Taylor who persuaded certain managers to pay for his services, conducting experiments with workers in the Bethlehem Steel Mill, trying to find out with a stopwatch how to increase the productivity of workers loading pig iron on to railroad cars.  It was only with what he called “first-class workers,” muscular brutes who did not complain about a work speedup, that he achieved success. Nonetheless,Taylorhad to fudge his data to persuade others of the benefits of Scientific Management.

Taylorhad a highly persuasive pitch that never varied, so persuasive it was that universities around the country began to establish business schools when professors and administrators became convinced that management was a science, a rationalistic approach to organizing work.  But Stewart’s research convinced him thatTaylornot only fudged his data, he created a “religion” rather than a science (p. 79).  Continuing his narrative, Matthews also points out that Elton Mayo, guru of the Human Relations Movement at Harvard’sBusinessSchoolalso fudged the data from the famous Hawthorne Studies at Western Electric in order to establish the humanistic approach to management as a complement, or perhaps an advance beyond,Taylor’s rational approach.  Stewart reminds us that Mayo allowed himself to be introduced as “Doctor Mayo,” even though he had not earned a doctorate.

Stewart systematically criticizes the classical, modern, and postmodern theories of management developed since Taylor and Mayo.  He reserves his greatest wrath for those recent authors who write in an area inspired by the military metaphor of strategy.  He cites theories and names the names of those who perpetrated them, professors in business schools who are well-placed, or should we say well linked, in a network of corporate executives and consultants.  Stewart goes so far as to say that some of the management strategy theories are antisocial, that they have regard neither for workers nor owners nor consumers, only for executives who can implement them.

In some of the strategy theories executives are coached on how to eliminate competition. Now, we ask, along with Stewart, this question: If the theories worked and effectively eliminated all competitors, would they not produce more than antisocial effects, would they not produce illegal effects, i.e. violations of the Anti Trust Laws against monopolies?  (Stewart’s argument here reads specious to me – as strategy theory is generally about positioning and improving yourselves relative to the current and anticipated competition – and you know that your competition is going to be changing and moving in unanticipated ways (if they are any good), so you try to eliminate their current competitive advantage, but if they stay in business or not – that’s up to them.. So while it is fun to make that kind of bald argument, it isn’t in my opinion authentic to the strategy theory work.  How should we deal with that perspective?  Maybe we shouldn’t?)

Stewart’s piece he wrote for The Big Money, quoted earlier, argues that the economic crisis in the first decade of this century exposed the myth of business-school expertise. The numbers to support his claim are these: In the past 20 years, about one-third of graduates from “top” business schools went into finance, and the banks will never be the same.  The management consulting industry, the other major consumer of MBAs, was, he wrote, also reeling. “Isn’t it just a little suspicious, after all,” he asked rhetorically, “that the sector that showed the greatest appetite for MBAs was the most grotesquely mismanaged?” (p. 1).   Indeed, the financial services industry as a whole has been called into question for mismanagement and for serious ethical concerns. These charges range from the large and well established firms that we have watched fail so publically to the so-called ‘fringe-banking’ institutions that service low-income people who can’t find the services they need in the brand-name banks and so fall victim to extortionist pricing schemes that are the only available resource. According to the Brookings Institute, in the last 20 years (including Stewart’s seven years in consulting), so called ‘pay day loan’ establishment have grown steadily, with the industry netting $8.5B in fees in one recent year (Blank, 2010). While an attractive business proposition, one must wonder where the moral compass points in this currently unregulated industry that has no doubt received plenty of input from business professionals both internally and externally.


His major complaint throughout the book is that Taylor and others claimed to have produced a science. Stewart cannot accept these claims for management because their work does not meet his criterion of either a “falsifiable” framework or theory.  His implied solution is to do away with the business schools and let the departments in arts and sciences educate future executives.  He thinks philosophy should be the most important of the disciplines required, even though he does say that “communication training” would be an important, if not the most important part, of a manager’s education and training.  Hartnett would want such training to be provided to everyone in a democracy, not just business leaders.  We can speculate that Mendes might suggest that, based on her review, psychiatrists would benefit from a philosophical perspective that frames their view of medication for what might be considered ‘normal’ conditions of the human experience.


     It is time now to evaluate the claims advanced by Stewart. Despite shifting the blame from the people in the consulting companies to the people in the business schools, his charges against the former remain.  They seem to us, a professor and a consultant, to be alien and unforgivable if we take him at his word.  Perhaps the first question we should ask is why Stewart spent so much time in the business, seven years as a consultant, if he knew that what he was doing was hypocritical, unethical, and harmful?  We believe he did it for the money, and even if he took notes on what he saw in order to expose the scandal later (which is highly doubtful given his framing), he demonstrates a clear lack of integrity.

Nonetheless, this does not mean that he loses his credibility in regard to the scandalous activities of the management consulting firms he worked in and heard about. We have yet to encounter any counter claims about what Stewart observed, inferred, or acted out in his experience with consulting firms.  Indeed, we found a review of his book, “Bogus Theories, Bad for Business: The Follies of ‘management science’ and the consulting that promotes it,” written by Philip Delves Broughton, in—and we are not kidding—in The Wall Street Journal.  Broughton says that the book is a “serious and valuable polemic” (p. ??).  Stewart was wrong to participate for so long in such nefarious dealings, right to expose them.  We hope his efforts produce reform.

We both feel that his arguments seem to be cast as universals, applying to all consulting companies and individual consultants.  We accept his arguments to be a true representation of what he recalls of those organizations he was in position to observe, but cannot accept that they apply to all consultants and consulting companies.

From the perspective of the second author, Stewart himself writes of his falling out with the industry as a whole – he got maliciously held out of a lot of money, he encountered several very unpleasant people who he allowed to manipulate him and who made him feel stupid when he was accustom to feeling very smart. The idea that he is somehow super-human enough to be completely objective in his analysis feels dangerous. He cloaks his antagonism in ‘research’, but one has to wonder if he is really just grinding an ax he wishes he could swing at a few heads. In spite of his clear animosity, some his points are well taken and valid issues within the consulting industry, and well presented.  But they are neither new nor ground-breaking to those in the consulting industry.  As Markowitz (2001) notes in the consulting fieldbook Flawless Consulting, “somewhere in that desire to help….  Consultants can get lost in their own needs to advise and control.  There are very fine lines between helping, advising, and controlling” (p. 109). She goes on to note that consultants have to routinely check themselves to determine if they are acting in the best interests of their clients, highlighting some of the risks and how it happens that consultants can lose their way. While not New York Times best sellers, books like this have been exploring the combined art and science of consulting for years – it is a shame that Stewart and his compadres never encountered any of them.


Moreover we believe there are consultants and, then, consultants.  Stewart seems to think he is talking about all consultants.  Not so.  Stewart is talking strictly about management consultants, working for those at the top.  The second author notes that there are many kinds of consultants, and management consultants fill a highly specialized niche in terms of developing business direction and advice typically for executive management teams. This might include analysis regarding market entry/exit, buying a new business, selling a part of a business, changing accounting structures, investing in a new geography or product, and other high risk endeavors for which outside counsel is often sought. Companies that concentrate on management consulting no doubt run a higher risk of getting caught up the kind of organizational culture described by Stewart, and as a result adopted practices that are unacceptable to others. Reasons for this may include the level of abstraction from the personal impact to the workers in the organization, the amount of money involved both in the transactions and in personal compensation, the level of recognition and reward, and the degree to which one connects personally with a client.


We now must move from ontology to epistemology.  Stewart makes his case against management theory at bottom because it is not a science.  It is important to understand what he means by science, the sword he swings to decapitate consulting companies, management theories, and their authors in the business schools.   Stewart’s specialty in philosophy is in nineteenth century German philosophy, not epistemology. That is no doubt the reason he chose an Austrian-born philosopher by the name of Karl Popper to supply him with his criterion for science.  Stewart attacks the idea that data can be gathered to prove a theory by writing, “As Karl Popper points out, scientific theories are interesting because they could be wrong.  They are falsifiable; and this is why science as a whole is corrigible and progresses.  By always insisting that he was incontestably right,Taylor inadvertently acknowledged that his science isn’t a science” (Stewart, p. 53).


Falsifiability is not, as we shall see, the only criterion of epistemology.   Furthermore, some disciplines and areas of study are more falsifiable than others.  Earlier we quoted Menands in regard to the complaint that Psychiatry is not a science; recall that he said it involved the biological, the psychological, and the moral, and no science can answer all the questions that arise in all these areas.  We find management and organizational communication to be similar to psychiatry in this way, involving the biological—Taylor’s “first-class worker” comes to mind—the psychological, and finally the moral—and here Stewart’s lack of integrity comes to mind.

If management and organizational communication, like psychiatry, are different from physics in some ways, then perhaps they require different epistemologies.  Because we are Americans concerned with American institutions, we hope to avoid being perceived as provincial or nationalistic for preferring a philosophy grown at home: Pragmatism.  We quote from the article on Pragmatism by a person known only by the initials C.H.S. in the second edition of the Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy:


Knowledge is instrumental—a tool for organizing experience satisfactorily.                        Concepts are habits of belief or rules of action.  Truth cannot be determined solely                      by epistemological criteria because the adequacy of these criteria cannot be                   determined apart from the goals sought and values instantiated.  Values, which                arise in historically specific cultural situations, are intelligently appropriated only                 to the extent that they satisfactorily resolve problems and are judged worth                        retaining.  According to pragmatic theories of truth, truths are beliefs that are              confirmed in the course of experience and are therefore fallible, subject to further               revision (C.H.S., 2001, p. 730).


We should like to elaborate on this passage in order to make a more convincing case for our criterion of truth for communication, organizational, and management studies. Notice the word “instrumental,” a key word in Max Weber’s analysis of organization-qua-bureaucracy.  Call even more attention to the expression “organizing experience satisfactorily.”  “Organizing” is mainly the job of management, their most important job. “Organizing experience satisfactorily” ought to be the goal of all organizational consultants, despite Stewart’s descriptions of what they actually do.  And although the definition fits the domain of management and consulting much better than Stewart’s Popperian criterion of falsifiability, in a pragmatic way our definition also matches or fulfills his criterion because we are dealing with beliefs that are “fallible, subject to further revision.”


    We now tentatively propose our codification of ethics for engagement.  We begin with professional consultants and then consider academics who engage in the art, or is it a science?  On second thought they should both be a search for a pragmatic truth.  We now tentatively suggest two parts of a professional code of consulting ethics.


First, professionals, do no clear harm.  Is this not obvious?  Stewart made clear, however, that organizations in deep trouble hastened their end by paying outrageous sums of money to consultants for activities that did no good, and were no doubt harmful.  We could expand this rule by reference to our pragmatic orientation to the truth.  Professional consultants should make an effort to guarantee that their recommendations “satisfactorily resolve problems and are judged worth retaining.”  Truth is served when consultants’ recommendations are positively confirmed in the course of experience and research. (Phil – how do we deal with the fact that recommendations often take years to prove out, and that ‘satisfactorily resolving problems’ often means drastic measures, including laying people off, selling buildings, and changing jobs significantly, which can feel harmful in the present? I compare it to when a relationship ends – there is no easy or nice way to say to someone ‘I don’t love you anymore’, and it is always hurtful/harmful, sometimes to both people, but years later people can look back and say ‘that was the best thing that ever happened, because all these good things came out of the pain’ and recognize the courage it took to cause that pain for the good result – but impossible to see in the moment.  And, like a relationship, it isn’t possible to recover without feeling the hurt – we can’t avoid some pain, it isn’t healthy to do so. There seems to be this idea that if a business does something that makes its employees uncomfortable or puts them in a difficult situation, it is somehow evil, when in fact it might be both necessary and important as a growth point for the person and the company.  I struggle with that from an ethical perspective.  Sometimes doing harm is the best thing you can do.  Sometimes (maybe even always) I know there are people who will be discomforted by my advice, but I believe it is the right thing for the common good.)

Second, do good.  This is even more obvious than the first and is consistent with it, i.e., the goal of making every effort to confirm that your recommendations satisfactorily resolve problems.  Do not use the whale to make money unless it helps the client. (I think you shouldn’t use the ‘two handed regression’ technique no matter what, it is unethical to lie to a client even if it helps them – two people benefiting from a lousy analysis doesn’t make it good)

Third, do not stand idly by when you see colleagues doing harm or failing to do good. Blow the whistle within your consulting company.  If your company, or your own activity, is involved in benefiting a client at the expense of society, condemn it. Or, if your company is benefiting at the expense of the client, condemn it.

Fourth, consider at all times the needs of the society as a whole.  Do not engage in activities that benefit the executives at the expense of the workers, the owners and stakeholders, and society at large.  (this is a tricky one as well.  How do you distinguish between all these groups?  Executives are also workers, owners, stakeholders, and a part of society as a whole.  Workers are also stakeholders and owners.  Etc. etc. )

Fifth, and consistent with the principles above, make sure your consulting company—even if it specializes in management consulting—makes professional contributions to workers, the homeless, prison inmates and other unfortunate human beings. (just a note, most companies do a good bit of pro-bono work for non-profits, I’ll see if I can get some stats)



     First, academic consultants, do no harm.  Your first responsibilities are of course to the truth, i.e., the pragmatic truth defined above, and your students, your institution and discipline, and to the community.  As Hartnett made clear, “theory wolves” do harm.  We are also thinking of those on the other side of the divide who consult for pay with the business community at the expense of truth, and time spent with students, and their institution.  Do not make recommendations unless they can be shown to solve problems satisfactorily and without causing unintended negative consequences to your clients.

Second, do good.  In addition, determine empirically that your activities, whether teaching or making recommendations, are worth it to the client to retain or repeat.  Do not count consulting for money as a form of income under the tenure category of public service.  For every hour of consulting for pay, use an additional hour serving or teaching those in our society who cannot afford you to pay you for your help.  Count every hour of that activity as community service in your professional annual review.

Third, stay in love with the truth.  It should be clear by now that we do not mean the Truth with a capital T, a Popperian epistemological criterion that may no longer be relevant even to physicists as they grapple with the perplexing problems provided by string theory in an age of an increasing awareness of the unknowable.  Instead, we encourage an orientation that tries to assess truth in relation to goals sought and (high) values that are instantiated.  Make the extra effort to substantiate that your teachings and recommendations to inmates, students, and clients do help resolve problems satisfactorily.