Management consultants role

The role of management consultants can be either as external or internal consultants. The differentiation of internal and external can be based on the cost, progress efficiency, quality of solution and implementation. Internal consultants are free whereas external consultants are very expensive. The progress depends upon the consultant’s ability to understand the process and for internal consultants it is quite easy. On the other hand for external consultants they have to identify the business process and gather information. The internal consultants may be conditioned to the existing process and they may be unable to develop new ideas and hence the quality of solution may not be quite good as external consultants who are open-minded and less constrained by the past.

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Reason for management consultant and intervention

A range of reasons can be attributed for the involvement of management consultancy and intervention in business organisations. The more reasons can be found in terms of inefficiency. Organisations have to constantly compromise between conflicting demands such as providing excellent service to customers versus the cost of providing those services. The large size and complexity of business organisations can lead to inefficiency. Examples are NHS and British rail. Further there could be poor design of the business process which needs to be rectified and external consultants can bring new ideas.

There are several obstacles to improvement of business processes. This could be lack of responsibility, lack of new ideas, inability to identify inefficiency, resistance to change and long-held assumptions. Management consultants seek improvement and are trained for identifying inefficiency. External consultants do not have constraints of historic practices and they may develop a broad range of solutions, but these may not be of suitable for the organisation.

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Management consultant and intervention process

The consultancy projects involves the following stages

  1. Entry of consultant
    1. Consultant-client fit

The first stage of the consultancy and intervention programme is important to ensure that the consultant in the client are able to work together to find a solution to the clients from. The relationship between the client and the consultant may differ based on the characteristics, capability and competence, comments and the risk and reward.

  1. Framing the Issue and Setting Objectives

The intervention projects are difficult to define, but there should be boundaries, limits and responsibilities. The essential criteria for defining the problem in setting the objectives are,

  • Realistic/achievable
  • Quantitative/measurable
  • Written down contract
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  1. Contracting

Often consultancy and intervention programs do not achieve the objectives of the consultant and the client. In such cases the relationship would become sore and disputes arise essentially as a result of lack of clarity. Hence it is necessary to,

  1. Specified Purpose of Exercise
  2. Describe end Result
  • Define Success Criteria

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  1. Planning Intervention

 

  1. Conducting intervention
    1. Information gathering
      1. Mechanisms for gathering information
        1. Marketing materials
        2. Published accounts
        3. Policy statements
        4. Standard operating procedures
        5. Direct observation
        6. Interviews group workshops
        7. Questionnaires
      2. Collating and presenting data
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  1. Analysis and problem-solving
    1. Brainstorming techniques
    2. Cause and effect analysis
    3. Swot analysis

 

  1. Implementation and change management

 

Implementing the change management program is a difficult role for consultants and many of them try to avoid, giving the responsibility of implementing the changes to the organisation or the client.

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  1. Terminating and evaluating the intervention

 

The clients may face difficulty in continuing with the change programme when the consultants leave the client and hence it is recommended that a staged withdrawal is conducted by the consultant.