consulting indicates both the industry
of, and the practice of, helping organizations improve their performance, primarily through the analysis of
existing business problems and development of plans for improvement.
Organizations hire the
services of management consultants for a number of reasons, including gaining external (and presumably
objective) advice and access to the consultants' specialized expertise.
Because of their exposure to
and relationships with numerous organizations, consulting firms are also said to be aware of industry
"best practices", although
the transferability of such practices from one organization to another may be problematic depending on the
situation under consideration
Consultancies may also provide
organizational change management
assistance, development of coaching skills, technology
implementation, strategy development, or operational improvement services. Management consultants generally
bring their own, proprietary methodologies or frameworks to
guide the identification of problems, and to serve as the basis for recommendations for more effective or
efficient ways of
performing business tasks.
Management consulting grew
with the rise of management as a unique field of
study. The first management consulting firm was Arthur D. Little, founded
in 1886 by the MIT professor of the same name. Though Arthur D.
Little later became a general management consultancy, it originally specialized in technical research. Booz Allen Hamilton was
founded by Edwin G. Booz, a graduate of
the Kellogg School of
Management at Northwestern
University, in 1914 as a management consultancy and the first to serve both industry and government