Organizational advice

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Organizational consulting refers to external consulting services that aim to improve the structure and processes in an organization . Information is gathered in order to analyze the organization and develop advice based on this.

Organizational development, on the other hand, is a concept for implementing a planned social change in organizations, in which the change occurs from within.

Definition of terms

A distinction is made between "classic" organizational advice in the technical sense and the organizational advice detailed below, which is characterized by socio and psychological issues.

In classic organizational consulting, z. B. the information and work processes as well as the information storage and processing are examined and the processes and thus also the effectiveness / efficiency of the organization and its "output" optimized. Not only people are affected, but also machines, tools, procedures and places and processes.

When providing organizational advice, it must be taken into account that the ideas that the individual actors have of each other in the advisory situation are of great importance. The advisory processes also always take place in a specially created system. These circumstances differ from everyday events in terms of scheduling and manners. The structure is determined by the consultant in the form of questions.

Organizational consulting supports subsystems of an organization ( team , working group , project group , section, etc.) and aims to improve the communication, cooperation and organizational skills of the subsystems and their internal networking. Organizational advice refers to the existing development potential in an organizational unit. It is a process in which those affected become aware of the organizational, structural and personal connections and implement these findings in appropriate action. Awareness grows from working together on problem situations and from reflecting on observation of oneself and others.

Organizational advice aims to concretise tasks and competencies, clarify interests, identify barriers, enable the search for and use of new communication channels and promote conflict management. The counseling work supports the development of the members and the organizational units by making strengths and abilities visible and tangible.

Organizational consultants work with the instruments of supervision and team development. Your task is to mobilize and bring together the organization's own resources.

A sociological understanding of organizational consulting aims to encourage the organization as a whole to change itself on the basis of consulting. The focus is not on direct intervention and implementation, but rather on "helping people to help themselves" ( subsidiarity ).

Organizational development

Organizational development is a planned, systematic process in which employees improve the organization from within and make it more effective. The focus is on the organizational structure, the communication and decision-making processes, the organizational culture . The process is self-directed and action-oriented. The organizational developers initiate, design and accompany the process.


The 3 levels of the consultation process

1. Temporal level

2. Factual level

3. Social level

So every consultation is a process that is marked in time, has a specific topic and affects different actors in different ways.

Important basic assumptions:

  • Change cannot be brought into systems from outside.
  • Behaviors and attitudes are essential to change.
  • Any development of an organization can only take place through its members.
  • It is assumed that every company pursues two equally important goals: economic efficiency and optimal working conditions for employees.


There are essentially three reasons for organizational advice:

1. Strategic positioning

2. Reorganization of the entire company or

3. Change of ownership

Types of consultants

  • Trainers : are always experts in their field and have a pedagogical training. They know what the other has to learn and how to impart this knowledge.
  • Moderator : Controls the performance of a group - affects them.
  • Mediation : Mediation is a method of conflict settlement in which a third party tries to establish cooperation between the parties out of court.
  • Reviewers: Advisory-like experts who provide written expertise. With the submission of the report his task is done.
  • Specialist advice: Form of advice that focuses or restricts itself to the factual processing of a content-related problem, usually defined by the client.
  • Process consulting: Is limited to the social dimension (mostly to internal operations). Aims at the interaction and action patterns of the participants.
  • Coaching : An expert helps an employee to solve a problem.

Types of application

  • Internal consultants:

This refers to members of their own department in the company who exclusively offer advice as a service . They are mostly only represented in large companies, where above all the personnel and organizational areas, but also the IT departments, identify themselves as such consultants. The controllers represent a special case here . Internal consultants have the advantage that they are often more cost-effective than external consultants and also know exactly what the company is doing. This can also have a negative effect: Sometimes the so-called " operational blindness " occurs when working in a company for a longer period of time.

  • Temporary manager

A consulting firm provides a company with a "consultant".

  • Restructuring advisor

An extreme variant of the "temporary manager" is the so-called crisis manager. This responsible activity is associated with a particularly high degree of power of attorney, the right to issue instructions and responsibility for all decisions to be made in the company. Restructuring consultants are only used if the previous management has failed.


  • Ameln, Falko von / Kramer, Josef / Stark, Heike: Organizational consulting observed - hidden agendas and blind spots. 2009, Wiesbaden, VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, ISBN 978-3-531-15893-8
  • Fatzer, Gerhard (Ed.): Supervision and advice. A manual . EHP, Bergisch Gladbach, 11th edition 2005, ISBN 3-926176-27-X
  • French, Bell: Organizational Development . Haupt Verlag, Bern 1977, ISBN 3-258-02385-9
  • König, E./G.Volmer: Systemic Organizational Consulting - Basics and Methods. Deutscher Studienverlag, Weinheim 2000 (7th edition), ISBN 3-89271-616-1 (will be published in a revised edition in September 2008 as 'Handbuch Systemischer Organizationberatung')
  • Königswieser, Roswita / Martin Hillebrandt: Introduction to Systemic Organizational Consulting, 2004, ISBN 3-89670-456-7
  • Pohlmann, Markus / Thorsten Zillmann: Advice and training. Case studies, tasks and solutions, 2006, Munich; Vienna: Oldenbourg, ISBN 3-486-57996-7
  • Sarges, Werner: Improved performance when working in teams - Why companies are more likely to consult consultants than scientists. In EH Witte (ed.), Performance Improvements in Task-Oriented Small Groups (pp. 180–196), Lengerich 2000, Pabst Science Publishers, ISBN 978-3-935357-18-0

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