Exploring Relationship Management in Professional Services: A Study of Management Consultancy
This paper examines relationship management within management consultancy. This is an industry that has attracted little attention from researchers into professional services, and represents a significant gap in the marketing literature on relationship management. However, management consultancy is an important context for researching relationships as consultancy assignments tend to be project-based and long term in nature and client-consultant interactions are characterised by complexity; value conflicts; asymmetry of information; complex power balances; and differences in perceptions and expectations between clients and consultants. Using a case study approach, consultants' strategic views of relationships; their policies for managing relationships; the opportunity costs of relationship management policies for consultancy firms; as well as clients' views on loyalty and relationship development, are investigated.