Love It or Hate It, Management Consulting, is an Alluring Yet Misunderstood: Management Consultant Assignment, IMCS, Singapore

University Institute of Management Consultants (Singapore) (IMCS)
Subject Management Consultant

The Practical Rigor of Management Consulting: Methods, Frameworks, and Impact 

Love it or hate it, management consulting, is an alluring yet misunderstood profession. And as organizations seek new ways to optimize the workforce, support business goals, increase revenues, boost efficiency, and cut costs, demand for professional consulting services will only increase. However, many organizations still wonder what do management consultants really do.
The simple answer is that they uncover reliable intelligence and insights needed to drive smart decision making. To do that, though, client-focused consultants must mix solid scientific research techniques with innovative—and sometimes experimental—applications. Let’s take a closer look.

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Research Methods Used by Consultants

Management consultants typically take two approaches to research:

1. Qualitative (phenomenological). To gather necessary data, this approach uses:

  • ethnography (participant observation)
  • interviews (structured, semi-structured, and unstructured)
  • groundwork (reviewing existing documentation and reports).

2. Quantitative (empirical). To gather necessary data, this approach uses:

  • surveys and questionnaires
  • experiments (for example, quasi-experimental design)
  • business process modeling and simulations to model data, enterprises, and their operations.

In reality, as more firms pay scrupulous attention to delivering concrete results through improved systems and processes, management consultants must deploy both epistemological approaches and use a mix of research methods.

A Conventional Trio: Strategic, Tactical, and Operational Models

To use an intel-based approach to organizational research, a consultant’s operation needs to be rigorous, method-driven, and evidence-based. On the other hand, the consultant also needs to be vigilant in not allowing research models to become overly mechanical or robotic. Consequently, for every new consulting project, consultants should approach the problem with a fresh, unbiased mindset that suits each client’s unique situation.

Read the above article and answer the following questions:

  1. The author distinguishes three types of frameworks: strategic, tactical, and operational. Critically evaluate each type of framework. To what extent do these models overlap each other?
  2. Would you agree with the author that clients who publicize that they’ve hired management consultants do experience a rise in their market value? Explain your answer.
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