The experience of consultants

Published on November 30, 2015   22 min

Other Talks in the Series: Management Consultancy

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Welcome to this presentation which is concerned with the experience of consultants. My name is Dr. Michael Gill and I'm based at the School of Management at the University of Bath. So as I mentioned, we're going to be looking today at the experience of consultants, and particularly the experience of consultants in leading or elite strategy consulting firms.
In this presentation, we are going to have an introduction, two main sections, and a conclusion. We're going to introduce some of the key terms that we're going to employ. So, for example, what is a consultant? Also, look at the context and some different perspectives on studies of consulting. And once we've done that, we're going to explore the consultants' experiences in terms of the different environments or contexts in which they operate and that means looking at consulting teams, consulting organizations and their clients. Once we've done that, we can look more closely at the experience of consultants themselves. And in order to do that, we are going to draw on an empirical study which explored the experiences of consultants and look at some of the key themes that emerged from that study which concern an elite identity, a commitment to consulting, and status anxiety. And then, there will be one multi-choice question where you'll be able to select one answer that you think best answers the question, and then we'll conclude.
So before we continue, it's important to understand some of the key terms that we're going to employ throughout this presentation. And the first and perhaps the most important to understand is the idea of management consulting. So for the purpose of this presentation, we're going to draw on the Management Consultancies Association, the MCA definition which states that it's "the creation of value for organizations through improved performance, achieved by providing objective advice and implementing business solutions." The point of this definition is really to illustrate the fact that management consulting firms work closely with other organizations to give them advice, to help them achieve whatever particular goal they are seeking. And that means that consultants are the people who deliver or develop management consulting advice to create value for their clients or other organizations. And clients refer to the organizations who purchase this management consulting or employ consultants. Now it is important again to stress here that these definitions are contested and people have different interpretations of what a consultant is or what a management consulting firm is. And there are, for example, differences between what's perceived to be strategy consulting and those consulting firms that implement their particular advice. But broadly for this presentation, this gives a good foundation from which we can work to explore what it means to be a consultant.