Research Management Consulting

Contact: Onno Bouwmeester
o.bouwmeester@vu.nl
Department of Management and Organization


In the area of consulting, the MC group is one of the largest academic research groups worldwide. Members of the MC group are known for their engagement in both management consulting research and practice. Many of us have worked as consultants before turning to academia, and some still do. We hold theoretical backgrounds in organisation theory, strategy, economics, business ethics, organizational behaviour, organizational development and change. As a group we are thus characterized by a multidisciplinary focus and a strong orientation towards combining theoretical and practice based knowledge. Methods that we most draw upon include interview studies, case studies, action research and discourse analysis but we also conduct quantitative studies. Our research approach aims to be developmental, critical and thought provoking, for instance by challenging general theories when applied in the context of consulting, or in related professional contexts.

 
The group has a strong research focus. We collaborate internationally with renowned scholars in research projects, but we also publish with our Master students, based on their theses. Next to that we have established a variety of links with practitioners. Sometimes we do assignments for consultancies, and business organizations in the form of contract research, but we also appear in the more popular press, and in leading professional journals. Areas of expertise include the creation and use of management ideas in consulting, the development of new consultancy business models, the impact of consulting rhetoric in decision-making, the purchase and use of consulting services and the challenges and perks of consultancy careers, and our research is not limited to the consulting context only.


Since the start in 2006 our teaching is mainly focused on the Master specialization Management Consulting, with yearly around 50 graduates. Our aim here is not to teach students the tips, tricks and tools that are popular in consulting today, but to help them in establishing a strong academic basis by developing the critical analytical skills needed for a future career in consulting, management practice, academic research or combinations of these. To achieve that they need a good grasp of theories related to consulting, but they also are frequently exposed to practice to gain concrete, experience based knowledge. Today, more than half of our students have an international background. Most of our students find their way into consulting, others start as management trainees, at governments, as internal consultants and some pursue an academic career, after or in parallel with their consultancy work.


Next to the teaching in the Master specialization we participate in the Bachelor programs economics, business administration and international business administration with projects and courses on organisation theory and consulting. Likewise we contribute to the part-time Master program with a consulting course and to executive education for consultants in the Executive Master on Management Consulting. We also do in-house trainings and contract research for consultancies.