OTHER PEOPLE'S BUSINESS: A Primer on Management Consultants by Howard J. Klein

OTHER PEOPLE'S BUSINESS: A Primer on Management Consultants

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What do I do now?"" isn't a cry restricted to ordinary folk. Even the chief executive of a major industrial combine, a multinational corporation or, alas, a government agency often finds the need for a sagacious adviser. In the business world the eminence grise may well be a highly structured firm of professionals or a single avuncular management consultant. The ordained are described in detail in Klein's book, from the early ""efficiency experts"" to today's prosperous vendors of managementese, which recounts how the ""gentleman's game"" played by Arrow Collar Pooh-Bahs evolved into yet another ""profession"" practiced by lanky B-School types. Case histories--including a study of Willowbrook, New York's latter-day Bedlam--reveal how today's ""agents of change"" operate on the highest levels. The work of several powerful firms--like McKinsey or Cresap or Booz, Allen--as well as that of individual practitioners like Peter Drucker and John Diebold is closely examined. Klein is weak on simple business math (a growth rate of 15 percent a year, for example, has never been the same as 150 percent over ten years), but he speaks out on some of the problems which face an enterprise rarely subjected to public scrutiny. Should management consultants be licensed? Are they more effective as generalists or as specialists? What about serving competing clients? One tends to get the notion from Other People's Business that management consultants are more like corporate knights-errant than well-mannered hired hit men. It may not be easy to convince some of the lumpen who get those pink slips in the name of efficiency.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1977
Publisher: Mason/Charter