What is Management Consulting?
Management consulting is an independent professional advisory service assisting managers and organizations to achieve organizational purposes and objectives by solving management and business problems, identifying and seizing new opportunities, enhancing learning, and implementing changes.
Source: Management Consulting: A Guide to the Profession, 4th ed., Milan Kubr, ed., 2002, International Labour Organization.
What is a Management Consultant?
Professional management consultants are contracted by organizations to provide advisory services in an objective and independent manner.
Services include, but are not limited to, strategic planning, facilitation, quality assurance, education and training, investment counsel, identification and analysis of management problems, developing solutions, and the implementation of proposed solutions.
Professional management consultants may be asked to provide objective advice that will help an organization solve problems or manage change, including business start-up, expansion, reorganization, diversification, downsizing, disposal of assets, planning, review of operations, launching projects, or acquiring and implementing technology.
In general, business management consultants:
- Define the nature and extent of the project by gathering information (which may include conducting research to determine the current efficiency and effectiveness of managerial policies and procedures.
- Analyze the data collected and use their background knowledge to develop proposals for improving methods, systems and/or procedures.
- Present their recommendations to the client organization and, if their recommendations are accepted, implement those recommendations.
Professional management consultants are hired when an organization lacks sufficient resources, requires external objective advice, or because they have expertise not available within the client organization. Most management consultants specialize in helping organizations solve particular types of problems, challenges or changes.
There are as many specializations as there are types of business problems and challenges. The following are a few 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.
- Strategic consultants help organizations with strategic planning for the foreseeable future (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.