Corporate responses to management consultancy procurement

  • Deborah Tallis

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


This study examines the variance in methodologies employed by executives and Procurement professionals to engage management consultancy services. The exclusion of Procurement from specific categories of consultancy expenditure is then viewed in the context of its aspirations to be a strategic function. The conclusion drawn is that such aspirations are flawed. Literature in the areas of services marketing, consultancy, value choice, and sourcing are examined. It is noted that the services and consultancy literature refers to the subjective approach of the individual to assess value. In addition, literature that stresses the role of individual contingency in value choices concludes that individuals will not necessarily refer to price when making such assessments. In contrast, the sourcing literature adopts objective organisational approaches to value. This dissonance is reflected in the research data which concludes that senior executives procuring strategy consultancy or ‘coaching’ services tend to use subjective value constructs to make selection decisions. This situation is problematic for procurement professionals who refer almost exclusively to objective value constructs that are specifically designed to produce benefits at an organisational level. This situation makes unlikely the full integration of procurement at a strategic level within the organisation. The choice of a subjective approach to the research using ideographic methodology produced rich and complex data. Semi-structured interviews with senior executives and an extended observation of a consultancy engagement were used. Access of this nature would normally be problematic due to the time constraints under which executives work and the sensitivity of the material. A rare opportunity, however, was presented by the status of the researcher as employee and this was exploited to gain privileged insights into executive behaviour.
Date of Award1 Jan 2008
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorChristine Harland (Supervisor) & Nigel Caldwell (Supervisor)


  • consultancy
  • procurement

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