Organizational Forms and National Institutions
Edited by Marcela Miozzo and Damian Grimshaw
Chapter 9: The Globalization of Management Consultancy Firms: Constraints and Limitations
9. The globalization of management consultancy ﬁrms: constraints and limitations Glenn Morgan, Andrew Sturdy and Sigrid Quack INTRODUCTION This chapter is aimed at providing a framework for the analysis of organizational structures and processes in the global management consulting industry. Our basic question is, why do global consulting ﬁrms exist? What distinctive advantages (if any) are they able to bring to their clients and the consulting task which cannot be achieved by ‘national’ ﬁrms? Consideration of this question leads us into alternative modes of internationalization in this sector. Economists in the ﬁeld of international business have long posed this question in relation to manufacturing ﬁrms (see for example Dunning 1993). However, their answers tend to be limited to economic considerations and ignore the ways in which issues of organizational structure, power and processes impact on the internationalizing strategies of ﬁrms. More recently other authors have posed the same question speciﬁcally in relation to professional services ﬁrms (Aharonhi 2000; Lowendahl 2000; Nachum 2000; Roberts 1998, 1999, 2004). These authors have argued that there are speciﬁc characteristics of professional services that require an adaptation of the dominant models of internationalization. These relate to the distinctive interface between clients and suppliers in these contexts where co-presence and interaction is typically essential. This interaction in conditions where knowledge is ambiguous and/or clients may be less ‘knowledgeable’ than the professionals about the nature and quality of the services delivered has tended also to lead to national regulatory regimes controlling how some professional services...
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