The Merits of Academic Consulting and It’s Role in Organisational Development

Krishna Balthu, Chris Owen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the UK, there is growing scrutiny and apprehension over government expenditure on
consultancy firms, particularly over recent years. For example, it is estimated that
Brexit-related spending on big consultancies increased by 20% in 2019 and the
Pandemic has created new opportunities for consultants (a series of articles published
in Financial Times in 2020 have focused on government’s spending on external
consultants, for example see FT articles dated 29 January, 17 April, 19 August in year
2020). In general, it has been common practice for governments and private
organisations alike to procure knowledge and expertise through consultancies large and
small. We ask whether consultancies are the only source of advisory or can academic
researchers fill this gap? There is ample evidence of governments commissioning
University-based researchers to solve urgent problems such as the recent development
of Covid-19 vaccine (also see recent calls for research funding from UKRI related to
Covid-19 crisis). But such engagement tends to be mainly focused in the hard sciences
(natural sciences) domain as opposed to soft sciences (social sciences), which includes
management research and consultancy. Although some Business Schools in the UK
are already explicitly running academic consultancy operations, how far can Universities
assemble teams of academic consultants at the pace a commercial consultancy can
deliver to address an immediate need for a client organisation is a moot point.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-71
Number of pages5
JournalManagement Consulting Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 26 Dec 2021


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