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Crossing thresholds: An exploration of the transitional processes of new entrant management consultants

Despite the prominence of the management consulting industry and the appeal of roles within it, the recruitment and onboarding experiences of New Zealand management consultants are largely undocumented in existing academic literature. Research has shown new consultants face multiple challenges when becoming a competent consultant, including transitioning to the role; gathering required knowledge; constructing and aligning identity; and, coming to terms with both the ambiguous nature of consulting and the pressures generated by different tasks, firms and clients. This thesis explores how firms and individuals navigate this process by addressing the question: How might individuals and organisations improve the recruitment and onboarding of new entrant management consultants? In this context, the individuals are aspiring, incoming and relatively recent consultants, and the organisations are consultancy firms. This research gathers the stories of new management consultants via semi-structured interviews and utilises appreciative inquiry, analytical autoethnography and action research frameworks. In searching for ways to improve new management consultants’ experiences during recruitment and onboarding, the researcher analysed their responses. In addition, this study identifies how Covid-19 impacted some acculturation process associated with entering those roles. The results suggest that new management consultant experiences can be improved by attending to three key themes. As well as improving experiences, the findings indicate that actions taken in line with addressing the themes can also increase new consultants’ efficacy and develop their potential for success in the role.
Type of thesis
Tunnicliffe, G. (2021). Crossing thresholds: An exploration of the transitional processes of new entrant management consultants (Thesis, Master of Management Studies (MMS)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/14064
The University of Waikato
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