Guest reviewers choice
This month we welcome as our Guest Reviewer Rishi Athreya who introduces as his book choice – Management Consultancy by Joe O'Mahoney and Calvert Markham
Book review by Rishi Athreya - Management Consultancy
by Joe O'Mahoney and Calvert Markham
2nd edition; OUP Oxford; ISBN- 978-0199645473
The book provides a unique overview of the consulting profession. It is well structured into four parts descriptive, practitioner, critical and career perspectives.
The primary focus is on management consulting understood to include pure management, audit, engineering and it. Exceptionally it is perhaps the first consulting book to mention international development consultants engaged by multilateral organisations and bilateral donors. A future edition could include this in the first chapter among types of consulting.
The basic consultant roles of expert and process are mentioned. There is also a discussion of consultant filling gaps and becoming friends of clients. The political role of consultants in promoting ideological views in mentioned. Procurement of consulting services is discussed and there are chapters on consulting lifecycle and tools.
Importantly there is a chapter with detailed explanations of the skills needed to be in consulting. Specifically underpinning skills for a consultant are delineated. This include appearance and body language. An important point is client handling skills.
The book mentions the need for professionalisation of consulting. While other fields like medicine, accountancy and law have specific parameters consulting is too generic to be regulate. This view while partly valid need not be universally applicable. One sector where regulation is recommended is international development consulting within donor policy and theoretical basis of development studies and international relations.
Chapter 10 deals with ethics. Importantly the role of consultants in public sector is discussed and the reasonable fees of consultants is highlighted.
This book will help all levels of consultants. For beginners there is a basic overview of the sector and routes to entry. Further there is a detailed explanation of the recruitment process. For experienced consultants there is a discussion on getting on. The book has provided important reference material for submissions to parliamentary select committee.
Profile - Rishi Athreya
Rishi Athreya, Grad.Dip.Soc.Sc. (International and Political Studies), MA (Development Studies) (Leeds) AIC is an International Development Consultant specialising in Governance and Public Sector Reform. He has worked in Consulting and with the Commonwealth Secretariat. He is a published author on Governance and Politics. He is a book reviewer for the Chartered Management Institute.
House of Commons, Public Administration Select Committee, Written evidence from A. Ashraf and R. Athreya [CSS0007]