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Consultancy's consequences? a critical assessment of consultancy’s impact on management

Published on July 30, 2015   39 min

Other Talks in the Series: Management Consultancy

Hi. My name is Andrew Sturdy, and I'm a professor of management at the University of Bristol in the UK. This lecture is going to explore consultancy's consequences. That is, what is the impact of management consultancy or management in particular.
Overall, I'm going to be focusing on the claims that are made for management consultancy, and how we can treat these with some sort of skepticism, question what's behind these claims, and how valid are they. In fact, people make massive claims about management consultancy, both critical and celebratory. In the media, consultants are blamed for all sorts of ills and castigated. In research terms, they're celebrated and also castigated for some of the ills and successes within the world of business and organizations, in particular. But I will be arguing that there are good reasons for skepticism. In fact, the claims made for consultancy are sometimes overstated, and sometimes understated. This lecture is based on research that I've been doing over the last 25 years. In particular, two large projects on external consultants and internal consultants. As well as looking at all the research literature, and information around management consultancy. It's also based on a plenary speech I delivered at the Academy of Management, Management Consultant Division Conference. And was subsequently published in an article. And the sources for all the things that I say are set out in this article, and the details are provided at the end. So I'm just going to talk about the ideas here, and later on, if you need those details, you can refer to the article itself. Overall, I'm going to outline some of the impacts of management consultancy, but really focusing on some of the problems of identifying those, trying to find out what lies behind them. In particular, there's a problem in identifying where management consultancy and management divide. They're becoming very similar. The boundary between them is becoming increasingly diffuse and dynamic. And this raises a problem as, where can we attribute the role of consultancy against the role of management and other groups?

Consultancy's consequences? a critical assessment of consultancy’s impact on management

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