There is considerable research evidence to confirm that the accumulation of knowledge contributes to the competitive advantage of firms. However, in strategy consulting, one of the most knowledge‐intensive professional services, established firms that exploited their knowledge accumulation by adding exploitative consulting practices have found their performance has deteriorated. The increasing share of exploitative practices in the strategy consulting industry has attracted both established ICT‐related consulting firms and new entrants. Moreover, it has enabled clients to expand their problem‐solving abilities. These developments, in terms of competitiveness and client competencies, have reduced the attractiveness of exploitative practices for established strategy consulting firms. To analyse this development and to provide strategic options for the established firms, a conceptual framework is proposed. Based on this framework three strategic options are identified: ‘follow the herd’, ‘become ambidextrous’ and ‘back to the original focus’. In summarizing our argument, we highlight the pros and cons of these options and the implications for senior management. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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ERIM Article Series (EAS)
Strategic Change
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

van den Bosch, F., Baaij, M., & Volberda, H. (2005). How knowledge accumulation has changed strategy consulting: strategic options for established strategy consulting firms. Strategic Change, 14(1), 25–34. doi:10.1002/jsc.705