Since the late 20th Century, the consulting industry has grown significantly. Today, consulting is a widespread, one-size-fits-all term that includes virtually any form of advice-giving in a business setting. Irrespective of the industry, there is a large market and high demand for consulting. Knowing how to engage clients and ensuring successful consulting has never been more critical for consultancies looking to capitalise on scarce client demand. The purpose of this research study was to gain a collective understanding of those aspects that constitute successful consulting, focusing on the implicit dimensions that influence client-consultant engagement. In this regard, the research study aimed to add value by presenting a new perspective on, and extend understanding of the implicit dimensions influencing the client-consultant relationship by focusing on both clients and consultants though the unique lens of the Psychological Contract. This exploration of the Psychological Contract between client and consultant was conducted through the interpretivist paradigm, or to be more specific, a social constructivist approach. This approach allowed the researcher to explore the Psychological Contract between client and consultant through the constructed meanings that both clients and consultants attach to their experience of the client-consultant relationship, and enabled the researcher to explore their perceptions and interpretations of the dimensions that influenced that relationship. The researcher furthermore applied a qualitative research design and constructivist grounded theory method to explore the subjective meanings of clients and consultants, and to discover their reality. This design and method generated rich, in-depth data and understanding of the participants’ beliefs, perceptions, and subjective experiences to develop a comprehensive framework of the Psychological Contract between client and consultant.
Dissertation (MCom)--University of Pretoria, 2011.