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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1986

Adrian F.T. Payne

Strategy consultants have much to offer a top executive in terms of improving the bottom line. Yet little is known about the strategy consulting industry, because the…

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1434

Abstract

Strategy consultants have much to offer a top executive in terms of improving the bottom line. Yet little is known about the strategy consulting industry, because the firms and their clients are often reluctant to disclose details of their activities. This article surveys the leading strategy consulting firms and explores trends affecting the future of the industry.

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Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 7 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0275-6668

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Book part
Publication date: 21 August 2012

Christopher McKenna

Purpose – This chapter traces the creation of a market for strategy by management consulting firms during the second half of the twentieth century in order to demonstrate…

Abstract

Purpose – This chapter traces the creation of a market for strategy by management consulting firms during the second half of the twentieth century in order to demonstrate their impact in shaping debates in the subject and demand for their services by corporate executives.

Design/methodology/approach – Using historical analysis, the chapter draws on institutional theory, including institutional isomorphism. It uses both primary and secondary data from the leading consulting firms to describe how consultants shifted from offering advice on organizational structure to corporate strategy and eventually to corporate legitimacy as a result of the changing economic and regulatory environment of the time.

Findings/originality/value – This study provides a historical context for the emergence of corporate and competitive strategy as an institutional practice in both the United States and around the world, and provides insights into how important this history can be in understanding the debates among consultants and academics during strategy's emergence as an academic subject and practical application.

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 1986

Adrian Payne

Managers are increasingly using external consultants for the provision of a wide range of professional management services. The article discusses the structure of the…

Abstract

Managers are increasingly using external consultants for the provision of a wide range of professional management services. The article discusses the structure of the consulting industry, addresses the question of whether consultants “add value” for their clients, and describes how to identify, select and use relevant consultants.

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Management Decision, vol. 24 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1990

R.A. Proctor and J.S. Hassard

Like investors in stocks and shares who have aportfolio of different kinds of investments, each withspecial characteristics regarding risk, rate of return,etc.…

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3365

Abstract

Like investors in stocks and shares who have a portfolio of different kinds of investments, each with special characteristics regarding risk, rate of return, etc., organisations, too, have a portfolio of products or services with varying characteristics. Top management in such organisations has to find a desirable balance among alternative products. Several prescriptive models have been proposed to aid management in the task of product portfolio analysis and selection. The two most important of these are the Boston Consulting Group model and the GE‐McKinsey model, although there are others, amongst which the “Directional Policy Matrix” and “Sheth‐Frazier Margin‐Return Model” are notable examples. Both of the latter models, however, offer little in the way of improvement on the two former models. The GE‐McKinsey model and the Boston Consulting group model are referred to specifically, their limitations noted, and a model proposed which makes up for some limitations in these earlier models.

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Management Decision, vol. 28 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

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Article
Publication date: 12 May 2020

Marcel Meyer and Matthias P. Hühn

The purpose of this study is to discuss the advantages and challenges of using virtuous language in business.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to discuss the advantages and challenges of using virtuous language in business.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is a theoretical exploration based on a literature review and philosophical analysis that uses a quantitative study from the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) as its starting point.

Findings

This study argues that neo-Aristotelian leadership and positive leadership explain why companies whose financial filings use value-laden language that stresses the higher purpose of the organisation to outperform companies whose reports use the language of profit maximisation. While neo-Aristotelian leadership is based on Aristotle’s Rhetoric, positive leadership is primarily influenced by research results from Positive Psychology and Positive Organizational Scholarship. The two approaches to leadership highlight something that conventional business research largely ignores, namely, the role of values as drivers of human behavior and the importance of character in leadership. Both research streams indicate that it is possible for organisations to do well and do good because they are seen as groups of value-driven individuals. Thus, using virtuous/positive communication is a possible means to do well financially and to (re-)humanize the business world of tomorrow.

Research limitations/implications

The BHI study investigates the outcomes of written language only; thus, it does not consider oral communication. Moreover, there is no “perfect level” of virtuous language in corporate environments. We should not expect the same precision in ethics as in mathematics.

Practical implications

By way of explaining how to best use virtuous language in a business context, this study helps business practitioners to do good and well.

Social implications

This study offers a pathway to (re-)humanize tomorrow’s world of business, which is once again subjugating humanity to imagined technological imperatives.

Originality/value

By deliberating the benefits and possible downsides of using virtuous language in a business environment, this paper advances a topic that has recently gained considerable attention but is still in need for more research.

Propósito

el propósito de este estudio es discutir las ventajas y desafíos de usar el lenguaje de la virtud en los negocios.

Diseño/metodología/enfoque

este artículo es una exploración teórica basada en una revisión de la literatura y análisis filosófico que utiliza un estudio cuantitativo del Boston Consulting Group (BCG) como su punto de partida.

Hallazgos

este estudio sostiene que el liderazgo neo-aristotélico y el liderazgo positivo explican por qué las empresas cuyas declaraciones financieras utilizan un lenguaje cargado de valor que enfatiza el propósito superior de la organización superan a las empresas cuyos informes utilizan el lenguaje de la maximización de beneficios. Mientras el liderazgo neo-aristotélico se basa en la retórica de Aristóteles. El liderazgo positivo es principalmente influenciado por los descubrimientos de la Psicología Positiva y la Teoria Organizacional Positiva. Los dos enfoques del liderazgo destacan algo que la investigación empresarial convencional ignora, a saber, el papel de los valores como impulsores del comportamiento humano y la importancia del carácter en liderazgo. Ambas corrientes de investigación indican que es posible que las organizaciones hagan el bien y que les vaya bien al mismo tiempo, justo porque son vistos como grupos de individuos impulsados por valores. Por lo tanto, usar la comunicación virtuosa / positiva es un medio que permite hacer el bien financieramente hablando y para (re) humanizar el mundo empresarial de mañana.

Limitaciones/implicaciones de la investigación

el estudio BHI investiga los resultados del lenguaje escrito solamente; por tanto, no considera la comunicación oral. Además, no existe un "nivel perfecto" de lenguaje virtuoso en entornos corporativos. No deberíamos esperar la misma precisión en ética que en matemáticas.

Implicaciones prácticas

a modo de explicación de cómo utilizar mejor el lenguaje virtuoso en un contexto empresarial, este estudio ayuda a los empresarios a entender mejor la relación entre hacer el bien y que les vaya bien a sus organizaciones.

Implicaciones sociales

este estudio ofrece un camino para (re)humanizar el mundo empresarial del mañana, que una vez más está sometiendo a la humanidad a imperativos tecnológicos imaginados.

Originalidad/valor

deliberando sobre los beneficios y las posibles desventajas de usar un lenguaje virtuoso en un entorno empresarial, este documento presenta un tema que recientemente ha recibido considerable atención pero que necesita de más investigación.

Objetivo

o objetivo deste estudo é discutir as vantagens e os desafios do uso da linguagem virtuosa nos negócios.

Design/Metodologia/Abordagem

Este artigo é uma exploração teórica baseada em uma revisão da literatura e análise filosófica que usa um estudo quantitativo do Boston Consulting Group (BCG) como ponto de partida.

Descobertas

Este estudo argumenta que a liderança neo-aristotélica e a liderança positiva explicam por que as empresas cujas demonstrações financeiras usam uma linguagem carregada de valor que enfatiza o propósito superior da organização de superar as empresas cujos relatórios usam a linguagem da maximização de benefícios. Enquanto a liderança neo-aristotélica é baseada na retórica de Aristóteles. A liderança positiva é influenciada principalmente pelos resultados da pesquisa da Psicologia Positiva e do Estudo Organizacional Positivo. Ambas as abordagens da liderança destacam algo que a pesquisa convencional de negócios ignora, a saber, o papel dos valores como motores do comportamento humano e a importância do caráter na liderança. Ambos os fluxos de pesquisa indicam que é possível que as organizações façam bem e que façam bem porque são vistas como grupos de indivíduos movidos por valores. Portanto, usar a comunicação virtuosa / positiva é um meio de fazer o bem financeiramente e (re) humanizar o mundo dos negócios do amanhã.

Limitações/implicaçõesda pesquisa

O estudo BHI investiga apenas resultados de linguagem escrita; portanto, não considera a comunicação oral. Além disso, não existe um "nível perfeito" de linguagem virtuosa em ambientes corporativos. Não devemos esperar a mesma precisão na ética que na matemática.

Implicações práticas

Por meio da explicação de como usar da melhor forma a linguagem virtuosa em um contexto de negócios, este estudo ajuda os empreendedores a fazer o bem e melhor.

Implicações Sociais

Este estudo oferece um caminho para (re) humanizar o mundo empresarial do amanhã, que mais uma vez está submetendo a humanidade a imperativos tecnológicos imaginários.

Originalidade/valor

deliberando sobre os benefícios e as desvantagens potenciais do uso de linguagem virtuosa em um ambiente de negócios, este artigo apresenta um tópico que recentemente recebeu atenção considerável, mas precisa de mais pesquisas.

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2005

Susan M. Adams and Alberto Zanzi

The consulting industry is facing an inflection point as it shifts to being more populated by publicly traded entities than by private firms. Associated career patterns…

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2991

Abstract

Purpose

The consulting industry is facing an inflection point as it shifts to being more populated by publicly traded entities than by private firms. Associated career patterns are affected in ways that have not yet been explored.

Design/methodology/approach

In this paper we describe the industry shift to public ownership and resulting changes in consulting careers from a psychological contract perspective. We conclude by discussing the impact of emerging career dynamics that could impact the future effectiveness of the consulting industry.

Findings

There are dramatic transitions underway regarding career dynamics of professionals in major consultancies. We foresee a troublesome picture in some respects and a promising outlook in other respects for individuals and their firms in the consulting profession.

Practical implications

Aspiring consultants will find this paper informative as a way to assess fit with career models offered by consulting firms. Firms can use points in the paper to understand their potential shortcomings associated with their current and evolving career models to manage career transitions and negative consequences.

Originality/value

This conceptual paper draws attention to the potentially negative consequences of inappropriate career models for consultancies in general, and with different firm strategies. It is a first look at career changes in consulting due to the drastic shift of the industry to public entities.

Details

Career Development International, vol. 10 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1362-0436

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2001

Stephen A. Stumpf and Walter G. Tymon

The “War for Talent” has made the cover of Fortune Magazine as well as being a top agenda item for the leadership of professional service firms – from McKinsey to the…

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3428

Abstract

The “War for Talent” has made the cover of Fortune Magazine as well as being a top agenda item for the leadership of professional service firms – from McKinsey to the three Bs (Bain, Boston Consulting Group, and Booz Allen) to the big five accounting firms. A boom economy has led to a demand for talent that surpasses the supply, or at least the supply from Ivy League and top tier B‐schools. As consulting firms battle it out on B‐school campuses and scurry to other sources of talent such as engineering schools and PhD programs, one cannot help but ask, “Why are people choosing entrepreneurial positions over a consulting career?” The answers may be more in the failings of consulting firms to define a compelling industry‐wide value proposition than in a new venture’s overarching attractiveness as a moderate risk, high reward opportunity.

Details

Career Development International, vol. 6 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1362-0436

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Article
Publication date: 1 August 1997

Andreas Werr, Torbjörn Stjernberg and Peter Docherty

States that highly structured methods and tools for bringing about organizational change are frequent features in both the management literature and the practice of…

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11367

Abstract

States that highly structured methods and tools for bringing about organizational change are frequent features in both the management literature and the practice of management consultants. Reports that, in order to understand the nature and popularity of these methods and tools, a study of the availability and use of methods in business process re‐engineering (BPR) projects was carried out in five large consulting companies. Identifies six functions of methods on the basis of this study. Finds that methods play important roles both in the consulting organization and in the consultant’s interaction with the client in the specific change project. Also reveals that common to the identified functions is an ability to store and transfer knowledge, which contributes to the change process interface for clients and consultants. Shows also that consulting companies with very different professional backgrounds have very similar approaches to BPR projects. Identifies and comments on the similarities between these companies’ methods in respect of managing change.

Details

Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 10 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-4814

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 1992

Bodo B. Schlegelmilch, Adamantios Diamantopoulos and S. Anne Moore

Analyses the state of the management consultancy industry inBritain, from both a supply and a demand perspective. Aims to helppotential clients evaluate and select…

Abstract

Analyses the state of the management consultancy industry in Britain, from both a supply and a demand perspective. Aims to help potential clients evaluate and select consultants; to keep academics in business‐related subjects abreast of developments in the field; and to identify growth areas into which consultants might elect to move. Outlines available consulting specialisms, identifies key players in each, and profiles a typical management consultant.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 30 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

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Article
Publication date: 9 December 2019

Manuel Hensmans

An essential corporate decision-making tool, the Boston Consulting Group's growth-share matrix, is due for an upgrade. The purpose of this paper is to upgrade this growth…

Abstract

Purpose

An essential corporate decision-making tool, the Boston Consulting Group's growth-share matrix, is due for an upgrade. The purpose of this paper is to upgrade this growth matrix for use by corporate managers in the current platform age. Designed in the conglomerate age of the 1960s and 1970s to help corporate managers make disciplined and systematic portfolio investment decisions, the matrix is ill-adapted to the platform age in which we now live. The most valuable companies in the world are now platform companies, and many companies are transitioning to a more platform-based corporate portfolio. In this paper, the author explains how corporate managers can build and execute a sustainable platform portfolio.

Design/methodology/approach

The author started with a thorough study of the contextual assumptions and theoretical background of the original Boston Consulting Group growth-share matrix (which the author has been teaching for the past decade). He contrasted these with the assumptions and theoretical background developed in the platform strategy literature. To test and refine the framework, the author presented and discussed its applicability at companies such as GSK and with local consultants. He then used five consecutive cohorts of master students [280 students (70 groups)] to test this framework on a total of 20 companies (both “born platform” and “product to platform” companies).

Findings

The platform ecosystem age requires a corporate decision-making matrix that discriminates between businesses on the basis of platform market growth and platform commercialization capability, rather than product market growth and market share. As in the original matrix, these businesses correspond to three different investment horizons (Figure 1): the continuous renewal of blockbuster business, the integration of emerging killer businesses and the experimentation with joint innovation businesses. This paper helps corporate managers build and execute a sustainable platform portfolio by means of a sequence of six decision-making steps and a clear organizational template for successful execution.

Originality/value

The portfolio matrix, decision-making sequence and organizational execution advice presented in this paper are fit for both “born platform” companies such as Google (Alphabet) and “product to platform” hybrids such as Lego. The paper illustrates this with practical examples for both types of companies.

Details

Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 42 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0275-6668

Keywords

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