3 Reasons Why Firms Use Management Consultants

Why would a manager, a company, or any other organization use a management consultant? After all, wouldn't you expect that the people doing the job would know more about it than someone sitting on the sidelines? And, in any case, would you believe what a consultant had to say if that person had never managed a company?

The last question is more relevant than you think. The largest management consulting companies prefer to recruit those who have just complete their bachelors degrees so that they can instill their particular brand of consulting in them. You'd probably be surprised how many have had no experience whatsoever.

That said, you may be surprised to learn that there are three common reasons why management consultants are brought in: 1) the organization is looking for someone to blame; 2) the firm needs an extra pair of hands; or 3) they really do need help.

1. Who's to blame? This is a loaded question. Generally, it's asked when managers decide to do something they think will be unpopular, but don't want to be blamed for it. In other words, the decision has been made already; but because it will probably fly like a lead balloon, management consultants are brought in so that when they recommend the same unpopular policy, the management of the firm (they hope) can be absolved of the responsibility of following the advice they give.

You're probably wondering why managers would even dream that they could get away with such logic. Well, the answer is largely due to the perception of those who are not in the know. Think of it this way: Why would the management bring in an expensive bunch of consultants, and then ignore what they say? So, instead of doing that, they implement the controversial policy, and then when then the banana hits the fan, blame the consultants, even though the management had decided to do the same thing beforehand.

2. We need more people, but only temporarily. Sometimes, organizations just need an extra pair, or two, or three of hands. They know what to do, or at least think they do, but haven't the time to do it themselves. So instead they pay a premium for a relatively short period of time in order to accomplish whatever it is that they don't have time to complete.

3. Help! In these circumstances, managers recognize that they face a problem that they can't solve. Sometimes they know there's a problem, but can't figure out what it is. So, they draw on the expertise of management consultants to help them know what to do next.

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