The management consulting sector has been growing at an increasing rate and continues to do so. One of the reasons attributed to this growth is the worldwide move towards a Knowledge Economy. The relationship between a management consultant and their client can resemble that of a principal-agent relationship, where the client is the principal and the management consultant is the agent. Given the nature of this type of relationship, there is no guarantee that the agent will always act in the best interests of the principal. However, from a management consultant's perspective, the presence of certain factors lead to an increased likelihood of an outcome that is favourable for both the client and the management consultant, respectively. These factors are trust, sharing a common vision, and collaboration. The researcher sought to obtain a client perspective, and an understanding of why this is the case.
This study investigated the factors driving clients to utilise the services of management consultants and the client perspective, of the role that trust, a shared vision and collaboration have on the outcome of the engagement between the management consultant and themselves. In order to carry out this research, a qualitative research study was undertaken by the researcher. This study was of an exploratory design. Twelve semi-structured interviews were conducted with employees at a managerial level in organisations that had been clients of management consultants. The research findings from this study were produced from the analysis of the data that the researcher obtained in the interviews.
The research identified the client factors driving the use of management consultants. This research established why trust, collaboration, and a shared vision, contribute to a successful engagement outcome, as well as how these factors reduce the risks that arise as a result of the agency problem. Interestingly, the researcher also found that collaboration was a significant contributor to the successful outcome of the engagement. Collaboration was found to be enabled when there was a common vision shared by the client and the management consultant. Lastly, collaboration was also found to be enabled, where there was trust between the client and the management consultant. By taking this into account, managers engaging the services of management consultants can pay special attention to ensuring there is collaboration with the management consultant, as this increases the likelihood that the outcome of the engagement will be successful.
Mini Dissertation (MBA)--University of Pretoria, 2017.