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IT Management Consulting in Australia: A Major Issues Study

Kennelly, Jason (2005) IT Management Consulting in Australia: A Major Issues Study. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

Abstract

We are amidst a period of radical change in Management Consulting worldwide. The latter half of the twentieth century has seen major extensions to the range of services promoted under the umbrella of Management Consulting. The traditional Management Consulting Firms, such as McKinsey & Co., tend to provide strategy consulting. By contrast, the other multinational Management Consulting Firms have focused on Business Process Re-engineering and other services with an Information Technology emphasis. Significantly, several multinational Management Consulting Firms have come under the control of Information Technology companies. As yet, very little research has been conducted into the issues that Management Consultants face in Australia. This research project provides an empirical investigation aimed at identifying these issues. In doing so, the study intends to answer the following research question "What are the major issues facing Management Consulting Firms in Australia?" To assist in answering this overarching question the study endeavours to address three investigative questions (1) What is the relative severity of issues facing Management Consulting Firms in Australia? (2) What are the Knowledge Management related issues facing Management Consulting Firms in Australia? And (3) What distinctions can be made between Knowledge Management issues and approaches of small-medium sized Management Consulting Firms and large Management Consulting Firms?

This thesis is a compilation and comparison of evidence gathered from four separate but related sub-studies into the Management Consulting industry. The first, a Context Case Study of Management Consulting issues faced by small-medium sized firms, aimed to generate a rich, qualitative description of the study context, which, in turn, provides background to a larger follow-up Issues Delphi Study. Interpretation of the data gathered for the Context Case Study focuses on gaps between the literature and observed practice. The Issues Delphi Study garners response from members of the Institute of Management Consultants (IMC) in two survey rounds that inventory issues and then gauge their importance.

In addition, an exploratory and descriptive case study was performed to investigate Knowledge Management Strategies and Practices in the Australian branch of Accenture, a well known International Management Consulting Firm. Though the Accenture Case Study has an operational emphasis, both macro and micro issues of Knowledge Management are considered; macro issues pertain to the strategic leverage of Knowledge Assets, while micro issues pertain to creation, transfer and reuse of knowledge within the firm, and between the firm and its clients.

Knowledge Management is identified as essential to the achievement of sustained competitive advantage for all Professional Service Firms; of which Management Consulting Firms are a subset. As such, a conceptual analysis of the Knowledge in Professional Service Firms model, developed by Empson and Morris (1998), was performed to enhance the researchers understanding of Knowledge Management in Management Consulting Firms. The analysis of the model's constructs and their relationships assists the researcher's analysis of data gathered from the other three sub-studies. In addition, the attempt to develop several model variants is explored and an argument for the resulting final model variant which incorporates a new construct, Knowledge Management, is presented.

Finally, the study compares the issues identified from the four separate sub-studies. The issues gathered are mapped into Knowledge in Professional Service Firms model, providing useful insights into the importance of sound Knowledge Management practices in small, medium and large Management Consulting Firms.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 16190
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Gable, Guy& Smyth, Robert
Keywords: Management Consulting, Case Study Method, major issues study, Delphi Method, Knowledge Management, Professional Service Firms
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Department: Faculty of Information Technology
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Jason Kennelly
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 13:58
Last Modified: 29 Oct 2011 05:44

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