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Professor Andrew Sturdy Wins CMCE Award

12 November 2019

A paper by Professor Andrew Sturdy has won the 2019 Centre for Management Consulting Excellence (CMCE) Research Award


two people meeting in a pod

A paper by Professor Andrew Sturdy has won an award from the Centre for Management Consulting Excellence (CMCE).

‘Promoting solutions and co-constructing problems' was published last year in policy journal Policy and Society and outlines how the classic 'garbage can' theory of decision making can be applied to policy making today.

The 'garbage can' theory describes how organisations can appear to embrace organised chaos. Rather than having the structures and processes in place to prevent problems or seek solutions as they arise, problems and solutions are dumped in one place and picked out in any order, including solutions coming first - looking for problems to that fit.

The paper reveals how consultants do not always construct problems for their clients to fit their prepared solutions, as critics often imply, nor do they simply conform to the conventional, ‘rational’ model of providing solutions to client problems. Rather, it is shown that they also co-produce both problems and solutions with clients, combining supply and demand-led approaches.

The award was presented at the CMCE Consulting Research Conference on 12th November at Goodenough College, London, with a reception afterwards hosted by the Worshipful Company of Management Consultants.

Andrew will continue to explore these issues and how they can help lead to better governance of consulting use. His approach will look beyond traditional solutions such as regulation or ethics training to explore alternative organisational forms of consultancy and consulting knowledge that will create greater diversity in the industry.

Further information

Read the paper: Sturdy, A. J. (2018) ‘Promoting solutions and co-constructing problems - Management consultancy and instrument constituencies?’ Policy and Society 37,1, 74-89.

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