We investigate the relationship between the knowledge requirements of projects and clients’ decisions whether to procure services from external management consultants for the execution of these projects. Using data from interviews with client decision-makers regarding the execution of 86 projects, we find that knowledge requirements are strongly associated with the decision whether or not to involve external consultants. The results highlight the closeness of the relationships between clients and consultants, supporting Kitay and Wright’s [Kitay, J., & Wright, C. (2004). Take the money and run? Organisational boundaries and consultants’ roles, The Service Industries Journal, 24(3) 1—18] view of the permeability of the boundaries between many client organizations and their consultants. The findings also confirm our expectation that clients use the services of external management consultants in order to procure functional or industry-specific knowledge which consultants can pool and apply efficiently across many projects. # 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Management consulting, Knowledge, Client-consultant relationships
dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scaman.2009.05.007, hdl.handle.net/1765/134023
Scandinavian Journal of Management
Rotterdam School of Management (RSM), Erasmus University

Richter, A., & Niewiem, S. (2009). Knowledge Transfer Across Permeable Boundaries: An Empirical Study of Clients’ Decisions to Involve Management Consultants. Scandinavian Journal of Management, 25(3), 275–288. doi:10.1016/j.scaman.2009.05.007