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The CMCE Consulting Research Conference

THE CENTRE FOR MANAGEMENT CONSULTING EXCELLENCE (CMCE) aims to share academic research and practitioner experience to the benefit of the consulting community. In 2019 we launched our annual Consulting Research Conference, promoting research of relevance and value to management consultants and providing a forum in which academics and practitioners can share ideas and experience.

RUN IN ASSOCIATION WITH THE BRITISH ACADEMY OF MANAGEMENT, the Conference featured three themes focused on topics of immediate interest and value to consultants:

1. Technology and consulting: the application of new technologies and their relevance to consultancy.

Winning entry:  Building dynamic capabilities for digital transformation: An ongoing process of strategic renewal. Karl Warner and  Maximilian Wäger.

This research is founded on empirical evidence from senior executives in a number of large organisations that are addressing strategic change, along with the leaders of global management consulting companies providing advice on such change.  The findings are highly relevant and provide a practical model for any consultant advising organisations that are seeking to build the agility required to successfully embrace digital transformation.

2. Client-consultant relationships: issues around governance, trust, integrity, social responsibility and ethics and the implications of these for consultancy

Winning entry: Promoting solutions and co-constructing problems – management consultancy and instrument constituencies. Andrew Sturdy

A thoughtful and reflective analysis of the way in which clients and consultants work together to structure problems and develop solutions.  While the conclusions will be unsurprising to the experienced consultant, the paper will be of value to clients, consultants and academics in throwing light on the professional practice of management consultants in their engagement with client organisations

3. The changing environment of the consultant: the demands that changes in society and the business environment  are placing on consultants and the need for new skills to complement the consultant’s timeless ‘soft skills’ and new methodologies.

 Winning entry: Management control in UK innovation companies. Robert Luther, Ellen Haustein and Gail Webber

This research captured data from 78 UK companies about the nature of management controls that facilitate innovation. The findings will be of direct value both to management consulting companies in respect of their own operations, and to enhancing their advice to client organisations seeking to improve their capacity to develop and implement innovations

The authors of the winning entries in each of these categories gave a short lecture on their paper and about the current directions of their research. Each was followed by input from other academics and consultants on the topic and then the opportunity for all those present to share experience.

Management consultants benefited from leading edge thinking that they can apply to their work with clients, while for academics this also formed a BAM track event for those interested in consultancy. And all benefited from the opportunity to meet and discuss ideas.

The Conference was open to all who are interested in management consultancy, including academics, practitioners, students, and users of management consultancy.

THE CONFERENCE FEATURED A KEYNOTE ADDRESS FROM MICHAEL MAINELLI, a fellow of Goodenough College and chairman of Z/Yen, a commercial think-tank, which he co-founded in 1994. He is Emeritus Gresham Professor of Commerce at Gresham College in London, an Alderman of the City of London, and founder of the Long Finance initiative. He was elected Sheriff of the City of London earlier in 2019.

The Conference was held at Goodenough College and was followed by a reception, allowing further discussion and networking, and at which the prestigious Urwick Cup was awarded by the Worshipful Company of Management Consultants (CMCE’s parent organisation) to Karl Warner and  Maximilian Wäger for an outstanding research contribution.

You can obtain the full Proceedings of the Conference by clicking the link below.


Keynote:  Michael Mainelli

Award winners: Karl Warner and Max Wäger; Andrew Sturdy; Gail Webber

Award judges: Bob Harris, Simon Davey,  Patrick Chapman

CMCE: Malcolm McCaig, Calvert Markham