Consultant as Ethnographer: Conceptualizing a New Approach to Nonprofit Arts Management Consulting

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Hiring a consultant can be an expensive endeavor for nonprofit arts organizations and is sometimes criticized for bearing few substantive outcomes. The unique workplace culture of such organizations calls for a differentiating consulting model. This article conceptualizes a new approach to nonprofit arts management consulting work by looking at the principles of ethnography. From the perspective of both client and consultant, the author posits one possible solution which considers the consultant as an ethnographer. Approaching consulting work with an ethnographer's lens moves away from the prescriptive toward more inclusive and organic techniques. This concept article will be of particular interest to scholars and practitioners with nonprofit arts management expertise who have experience or interest in consulting work.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-137
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Arts Management Law and Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Consultant
  • consultant-ethnographer
  • ethnographer
  • practitioner
  • scholar
  • workplace culture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Strategy and Management
  • Law


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