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BE872 Consulting To Organisations

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BE872 Consulting To Organisations

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BE872 Consulting To Organisations

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Course Code: BE872
University: University Of Essex is not sponsored or endorsed by this college or university

Country: United Kingdom

Critically discuss organisations dont need consultants they just need strong leadership.

Management consulting or consulting approach may be explained as the process of helping various organizations to improve their performance and productivity. This can be done through a thorough scrutiny of existing processes and operations and consequent implementation of plans for betterment. A consultant is a person who has specialized expertise in a given arena, and organizations who would be seeking the help of the consultant would seek his advice on external and internal matters (Sturdy, Wylie and Wright 2013). The consultant would thus be able to recommend best practices for concerned matters and help the company improve or optimise their operations. The role of an organizational consultant is to provide objective and independent advice which would help in defining and achieving the long term and short term goals of the organization. A consultant is also expected to improvise the utilization of available resources to ensure that the company is functioning to its fullest potential (Amelec 2015). However, there is a recent trend which claims that organizations do not require consultants, only strong leaders. This claim emphasizes the role of leadership in organizations. While that may be true, it is important to realize that consultants do add a certain value to organizations. This essay takes a critical stance on the role of consultants in an organization and the various models and theories related to consultancy approaches. 
A consultant has a number of roles to play in an organization. For example, his role would include analysis of the existing mode of operations and highlighting room for improvement. Since he is an outsider, he would be able to take an objective stance. He would be expected to study the structure of the organization, evaluate the level of efficiency within the business practices at all levels and also evaluate the progress of each individual involved in the operations. The consultant would also have to incorporate their study findings into official reports which would point out the weaknesses and strengths of the company. This information could later be used to implement changes towards a progressive path (L?z?roiu 2015). A consultant would also be asked to make recommendations for changes that could be implemented into the organization functioning and policies. These changes would enhance its overall performance and help in furthering the development of the company. The consultant would be able to recommend the best practices for the company, which would be aligned with its business strategies and policies and help in attaining business goals (Howlett and Migone 2013). Recommendations would include changes to organizational structure, business process, collaboration and more harmony in the organization. They might also recommend use of a certain technology which would help in enhancing business operations.
According to Sturdy, Wright and Wylie (2016), an organizational consultant’s role is limited to the aforementioned duties and responsibilities. However, Halton (1994) argues that the role of a consultant goes deeper than that. It is equally important to take into account the psychodynamic approaches to consultancy. In this case, it would be imperative to analyze what is now known as the Tavistock model of consultancy, which deals with the unconscious aspects of organizational life. The unconscious may be defined as that part of the human mind which deals with repressed emotions or feelings. The unconscious determines how an individual acts or behaves without having any control over it. Psychoanalysis is the theory which studies why human beings act a certain way or how they behave in their personal and professional relationships. A psychodynamic approach to consultancy is one which views the organization and its work as being affected by certain inborn preconceptions. This would determine the way a consultant approaches or analyzes an organization (Schermer and Rice 2013). This particular model also analyzes how individuals are able to work in a realistic way. Yet, as Freud said, a person’s relationships with those around him would influence his work. Work, including consulting work, would require renunciation of everything unrealistic and wishful thinking in order to objectively carry out tasks. As part of psychodynamic approaches to consulting, it is important to review the concept of the team as well. In psychoanalysis, there are various emotional factors that shape team work and group dynamics. For example, mutual support is one of the key factors which must be present in a team. As a consultant, one would be expected to analyze mutual support and evidence of effective group work within a team and point our opportunities for improvement.
While analyzing a consultant’s perspective, it is equally important to understand the nature of the organization. An organization may be defined as a network of various internal authorities and responsibilities, which are accompanied by professional relationships. The relationships would be between the various persons involved in the operations, who share a common goal of success. It is a systematic blend of people, functions and facilities or resources. In this aspect, it is equally important to consider Gareth Morgan or Karl Weick’s definition of sensemaking with respect to the nature of organization. According to Cummings and Worley (2009), Weick defined the concept of sensemaking and related it to the organizational aspect of a company. This concept can further be used by consultants to study the nature of organizations and organizational structure. It is based on the basic concept that the nature or structure of an organization would be dependent on the activities and decisions taken by the different members of the organization.
According to Dawson (2014), change in organization is mandatory. This is because an organization, by nature, is dynamic and therefore constantly evolving. Organizational change may be defined as the various alterations in structure, processes, strategies and operational methods which would be implemented in a company from time to time. The field of organization change or change management would also include the effect that these changes have on the organization, on individuals involved in the operations and on team work. However, Y?lmaz and K?l?ço?lu (2013) argue that change management affects the emotional undercurrents within an organization and the way teams operate. For example, in the case of drastic organizational change, fear and apprehensive attitude would be common in employees. They would be worried about how such changes would affect them on individual levels. Change management without proper leadership would generate fear and resistance amongst the employees, thus adversely affecting productivity. The resistance could be due to a variety of reasons. For instance, employees might be afraid that changes would affect job stability, increase work pressure or add to work related stress. Similarly, change implementation in an organization would affect the culture prevailing within the company. Organizational culture refers to the overall personality of the organization. A positive culture in an organization would include trust, open communication and strong leadership.
In order to avoid the challenges associated with implementation of change in the organization, effective change management would have to be implemented. Klarner et al. (2013) argue that there is more to change management than simply leadership. It would be wrong to undermine the role of consultants in managing teams and change management in teams. A consultant would be entrusted with the execution of the change process in an organization at both individual and team levels. He would be expected to assist the management of organization to gradually implement change, explain to the other employees why it is important and convince the members of the team about the positive effects of change (Seyed Kalali and Heidari 2016). A transition team would have to be devised to ease in the process of change. Through this team, the management would be able to direct the course of actions in the change management process. However, Goodwin (2016) argues that more than consultancy, strong leadership would be needed to sustain change. According to him, successful implementation of change would rely entirely on the capability of the leader leading the change. These leaders would be expected to lead their subordinates through the change process and support the individuals who would be affected as a result of the process. The leader would have to advocate for change in the organization. He or she would be answerable to the management and the rest of the organization about the change process. He or she would also have to act as a role model, setting an example for the rest of the organization. The leader would also have to make necessary decisions for the greater good. The decisions could be related to human resources, equipments, facilities or budgets.
Van der Voet (2014) argues that a transformational leadership style would be most appropriate for management of change at an organization. According to this theorist, leadership would be more significant than consulting as far as change process is concerned. Such a leader would help in clarifying the vision of the organization and communicating necessary decisions. He would also facilitate open lines of communication which can reassure the employees. Most importantly, a transformational leader is one who is transparent and accountable, leaving no room for ambiguity.
There are a large number of tools that consultants use to ensure favourable results for the organization in the long run. For example, one of the most important tools used by consultants would have to be that of conversation or dialogue. A consultant’s job, as mentioned earlier, is largely based on analyzing existing processes, making official reports and presenting recommendations on the same. All of these tasks have one thing in common – the need for dialogue or conversation. According to Miller (1995), a consultant would have to communicate his findings and recommendations to the concerned individuals and even interview them if the need arises. This is where the importance of dialogue as a tool arises. Effective communication skills can be called one of the most important tools that a consultant can use. As such, a consultant does not have much of an authority in the organization he is consulting at. However, he can exert authority through dialogue (Pearson 2017). If used effectively and tactfully, conversation can be used to empower the concerned individuals and also mentor them towards favourable actions. For example, if change is being implemented at an organization, it is expected that there would be some levels of resistance from the employees. Solid communication skills would be useful in winning the goodwill of the employees and convincing them about the necessity of the change. Moreover, if employees are falling short as far as their productivity is concerned, consultants can use dialogue or conversation to motivate them or empower them to improve performance.
Another major advantage of good communication skills is easy conflict resolutions. Very often, consultants are brought in to resolve conflicts between employees or inter team conflicts between various departments. In that case, the consultant would have to understand the conflict, recognize the factors that triggered it and attempt to eliminate them. In this aspect, psychodynamic coaching is one of the most commonly used tools. This comprises three major modes of thought – the classical approach, which studies the underlying emotions and repressed thoughts in conversation, the object relations theory which highlights the metaphorical meaning hidden in speech and the theory of self psychology which deals with self organization and development of the self. In this aspect, it is important to understand that a consultant needs to be a good listener. He would have to interact with the members of the organization, understand their perspectives, listen to what they have to say and incorporate the information obtained into the findings. Since the consultant is not internal, he would be able to offer objective and unbiased feedback.
However, it can be argued that more than consultants, an organization requires strong leadership leading the operations. For instance, bringing in an external consultant is also a drastic change in the organizational structure, which is often met with resistance. In such cases, it is strong leadership which can help an organization counter resistance and meet its objectives. This is not to say that consultancy is not important in an organization. A consultant can benefit the organization in a number of ways. The role of a consultant is multifaceted. The consultancy process involves five steps. In the first step, the consultant would have to contract information from each level of the organization. He would study the organizational structure, the mode of operations, the functioning, the relationship within the teams, the individual performances of the employees and so on. Next, he would have to acquire data on the same. This data would be all encompassing and would have to be compiled and analyzed. The results obtained would then be used to generate hypothesis on the organization. This hypothesis would state the findings of the analysis. It would highlight the strengths of the organization and also shed light on its weaknesses. Following the generation of the hypothesis, the consultant would have to identify potential improvements or practices that could be implemented. Based on that, he would make recommendations to the company and suggest ways of implementing these recommendations. This concludes the consultant’s role and stance in an organization. Yet, a leader is one who can alter the mode of operations in an organization. As mentioned earlier, use of transformational leadership style would help in ensuring that the employees of an organization abide by the vision and mission of the company (Schoemaker, Krupp and Howland 2013).
To conclude, it can be said that consultation is of prime importance to any organization. It is often claimed that organizations do not need consultants, they only need strong leadership. While the importance of efficient leadership in an organization cannot be undermined, it must be asserted that consultancy is equally significant. While a leader is internal, a consultant would be an outsider with special expertise in a specific field. He or she would be viewing and analysing the organization and the organizational operations from an objective perspective. Therefore, an objective account would be provided. Moreover, the consultant would also be able to make recommendations and suggestions about how the organization can improve its practices. The role or stance of the consultant has been explained in details in the essay. Several theories and models pertaining to the concepts have also been critically reviewed. As a matter of fact, consultancy has been found to be immensely effective in implementation of change management at an organization.
Amelec, V., 2015. Increased efficiency in a company of development of technological solutions in the areas commercial and of consultancy. Advanced Science Letters, 21(5), pp.1406-1408.
Dawson, P., 2014. Reflections: On time, temporality and change in organizations. Journal of Change Management, 14(3), pp.285-308.
Goodwin, M., 2016. Change management and leadership. In WCOM (World Class Operations Management) (pp. 185-196). Springer, Cham.
Halton. W. 1994. Some Unconscious Aspects of Organisational Life in Obholzer, A. and Roberts, V. (1994) The Unconscious at Work. London Routledge
Howlett, M. and Migone, A., 2013. Policy advice through the market: The role of external consultants in contemporary policy advisory systems. Policy and Society, 32(3), pp.241-254.
Klarner, P., Sarstedt, M., Hoeck, M. and Ringle, C.M., 2013. Disentangling the effects of team competences, team adaptability, and client communication on the performance of management consulting teams. Long Range Planning, 46(3), pp.258-286.
L?z?roiu, G., 2015. The role of the management consultancy industry in the knowledge economy. Psychosociological Issues in Human Resource Management, 3(2), pp.71-76.
Miller, E. 1995 ‘Dialogue with the client system: use of the “working note” in organizational consultancy’. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 10 (6), pp. 27–30.
Pearson, R., 2017. Business ethics as communication ethics: Public relations practice and the idea of dialogue. In Public relations theory (pp. 111-131). Routledge.
Schermer, V.L. and Rice, C.A., 2013. Introduction: Group Psychotherapists as Organizational Consultants: Diverse Contexts, Models, and Approaches. International journal of group psychotherapy, 63(2), pp.147-150.
Schoemaker, P.J., Krupp, S. and Howland, S., 2013. Strategic leadership: The essential skills. Harvard business review, 91(1), pp.131-134.
Seyed Kalali, N. and Heidari, A., 2016. How was competitive advantage sustained in management consultancies during change: The role of dynamic capabilities. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 29(5), pp.661-685.
Sturdy, A., Wright, C. and Wylie, N., 2016. Managers as consultants: The hybridity and tensions of neo-bureaucratic management. Organization, 23(2), pp.184-205.
Sturdy, A., Wylie, N. and Wright, C., 2013. Management consultancy and organizational uncertainty: the case of internal consultancy. International Studies of Management & Organization, 43(3), pp.58-73.
Van der Voet, J., 2014. The effectiveness and specificity of change management in a public organization: Transformational leadership and a bureaucratic organizational structure. European Management Journal, 32(3), pp.373-382.
Y?lmaz, D. and K?l?ço?lu, G., 2013. Resistance to change and ways of reducing resistance in educational organizations. European journal of research on education, 1(1), pp.14-21.

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