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Winner of the Urwick Prize 2016: Research predicts a major change to the business of management consultancy....

The Urwick Prize for 2016 was awarded by the Worshipful Company of Management Consultants at their Education Supper on 12 May....

 

PRESS RELEASE -  13 May 2016

The Prize is awarded for an outstanding recent piece of research relevant to management consultancy published in the UK, and this year was presented to Professor Andrew Sturdy, University of Bristol, Professor Christopher Wright, University of Sydney, and Dr Nick Wylie of Oxford Brookes University, for their book Management as Consultancy: Neo-bureaucracy and the Consultant Manager.

Their research shows that increasingly managers within organisations are taking on the tools and techniques of management consultancy, with the risk that the management consultancy business will become a victim of its own success and may ultimately face substitution by internal experts.

David Peregrine-Jones, Master of the Company, said in awarding the prize “Although we are a modern livery company, we continue the long tradition of City livery companies in supporting education". Colonel Urwick was a pioneer in the practice of management consultancy in the UK and an acclaimed writer on management. It is fitting therefore that this prize, which commemorates him, should be awarded to the authors of a book which looks at the increasing overlap between the worlds of consulting and management.”

Professor Sturdy commented “We are really pleased to have our work recognised by the award of this prestigious prize. It is vital that academic research in management consultancy is linked to practical applications in both the public and private sectors, and I applaud the efforts of the Company in supporting this.”

The Urwick Prize was established to commemorate Colonel Lyndall Urwick, a pioneer in the field of management consultancy, and its award is in the gift of the Worshipful Company of Management Consultants. The Prize is awarded for an outstanding recent piece of research relevant to management consultancy, published in the UK.

An Academic Panel, consisting of the UK Academic Fellows of the International Council of Management Consulting Institutes, reviewed eligible research and submitted a shortlist of worthy contenders to the Company. From this list, the Company selected "Management as Consultancy: Neo-bureaucracy and the Consultant Manager" by Professor Andrew Sturdy, University of Bristol, Professor Christopher Wright, University of Sydney, and Dr Nick Wylie of Oxford Brookes University, published by Cambridge University Press in 2015.

Based on one of the largest academic studies of consultancy ever, in this book the authors argue that the success of management consultancy has led to managers taking on the tools and techniques of management consultancy for internal use within their organisations, with the risk that management consultancy becomes a victim of its own success and may ultimately face substitution. This has been facilitated by the recruitment of those with management consultancy experience, as well as the growth of internal consultancy groups and internal service functions, such as HR and IT taking on consulting roles and identities.

The judges considered that this research is highly relevant to management consulting as it demonstrates a profound shift within clients, who might increasingly look to internal resources to deliver change and to substitute for the services of external management consultants. It also should enable consultants to be better equipped to address this fundamental shift influencing the “make or buy” decision in respect of consulting services.

Contacts

Prize - Calvert Markham –  calvert@cmarkham.com                         

 

Research – Andrew Sturdy – andrew.sturdy@bristol.ac.uk