Management Consulting

… a core term in Governance and Institutions and Atlas100

Definition

Wikipedia, reference below, defines management consulting as the practice of helping organizations to improve their performance, operating primarily through the analysis of existing organizational problems and the development of plans for improvement.

The Canadian Association of Management Consultants (CMC-Canada, reference below) states that professional management consultants “are contracted by organizations to provide objective and independent advice” and that advisory services “may include identification and analysis of management problems, developing solutions, and the implementation of proposed solutions.”

Modus operandi

Wikipedia says:

“As a result of their exposure to, and relationships with numerous organizations, consulting firms are typically aware of industry “best practices,” although the specific nature of situations under consideration may limit the transferability of such practices from one organization to another.

“Consultancies may also provide organizational change management assistance, development of coaching skills, process analysis, technology implementation, strategy development, or operational improvement services. Management consultants often bring their own proprietary methodologies or frameworks to guide the identification of problems and to serve as the basis for recommendations for more effective or efficient ways of performing work tasks.”

Subject areas

CMC says that there “are as many specializations as there are types of business problems and challenges” and lists the following possibilities:

  • Finance consultants provide advice on matters such as pricing securities, business valuation, and economic forecasting.
  • Human resources consultants advise about recruitment practices, compensation and benefits packages, pension funding, workforce diversification, and employee development programs.
  • Litigation consultants work with lawyers to develop case strategies, courtroom exhibits and tactics, and provide economic analyses.
  • Marketing consultants work with companies seeking innovative ways to market new or existing products and services.
  • Operations consultants help organizations increase productivity by improving business processes.
  • Organizational change consultants work with clients undergoing a fundamental re-orientation in the way the organization operates.
  • Quality management consultants help organizations improve the quality of their products and services.
  • Strategy consultants help organizations develop broad directions for the foreseeable future and providing advice on aligning the organization with chosen strategies (which may include developing a growth strategy, restructuring, marketing internationally, buying/selling assets, or revitalizing leadership).
  • Technology consultants help organizations implement new technologies for optimal effectiveness.

Wikipedia sets out eight “action areas” of consulting (links to further Wikipedia entries):

Criticism

Wikipedia notes that:

“Management consultants are sometimes criticized for overuse of buzzwords, reliance on and propagation of management fads, and a failure to develop plans that are executable by the client. A number of critical books about management consulting argue that the mismatch between management consulting advice and the ability of executives to actually create the change suggested results in substantial damages to existing businesses. …

“More disreputable consulting firms are sometimes accused of delivering empty promises, despite high fees, and charged with “stating the obvious” or lacking the experience upon which to base their advice. These consultants bring few innovations, instead offering generic and “prepackaged” strategies and plans that are irrelevant to the client’s particular issue.”

Topic, subject and Atlas course

Modernizing Government in Governance and Institutions and Atlas100.

Sources

Wikipedia (2016), Management consulting, at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Management_consulting, accessed 19 November 2016.

Canadian Association of Management Consultants (CMC-Canada), at http://www.cmc-canada.ca/whoweare/about-the-profession, accessed 19 November 2016.

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified on 19 November 2016.