Management Consulting has enjoyed significant growth in the previous 40 years and plays a large and important role in the private and public sectors of most national economies. Despite, or perhaps because of this success, the role of management consultants is controversial and has attracted criticism. This module explores these issues by looking at the context and environment in which consulting has grown and takes place, the concepts and theories that underpin consultancy and by which we can understand it, and some of the processes and practices that consultancy involves. The module uses both normative and critical lenses to reflect upon the sector as a whole, the rhetoric and the reality of consulting, and equip students with some of the practical skills and knowledge that being a consultant involves and requires.
The module is split into three parts. First, we look at the management consulting phenomenon in general and how it fits into our understanding of the business world as well as some of the controversy surrounding it. We then move on and take a closer look at the historical evolution of the sector and the different types of firms and institutions involved. Week three involves a case study and introduces various types of capital (including human, social and client). In the second section of the module we examine the processes, relationships and practices involved with management consulting. In particular we look at clients, the consultants themselves and the way that they organise their work, the relationships between clients and consultants and finally approaches, methods and tools that they can use. This section of the module also includes the assessed practical role play activity. The third and final section focuses on careers in consultancy, the ethical dimensions and controversies of consultancy and a look at the darker side of the industry. Given the international dimension and reach of consulting, as well as environmental and sustainability concerns, this section is highly relevant for the future of the industry. This section includes a look at how people get in, get on and some of the reasons that they get out of the consulting sector.