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Management consultancy: dimensions of client-consultancy relationships

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Although a great deal of management consultancy has been carried out in a wide variety of settings, very little research has been conducted examining underlying dimensions of the client-consultant relationship. The present study examines consultant and client perceptions of the consulting relationship. A procedure based on repertory grid technique was employed to elicit dimensions of client consultant relationships from 22 management consultants and 16 of their clients within a major UK company. A questionnaire was then developed in order to determine the importance and frequency of these dimensions to participants, and also to highlight the differences between the views of clients and consultants. Dimensions were found to fall within four broad categories: those relating to the client; those relating to the consultant; dimensions associated with contract details; and dimensions focused on relationship building. While both clients and consulting relationships, they differed in emphasis they placed on the different categories. More specifically, consultants viewed dimensions relating to relationship building as most important, while clients placed greater emphasis on dimensions associated with contract details. Recommendations, based on these findings are made for monitoring and enhancing client-consultant relationships.

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