Management Consultants and the United States’ Public Sector

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in Business and Politics. Read the full publication (registration required) »

Management consultants provide strategic advice to public sector agencies and departments throughout the US, contributing to what some scholars call the “hollowing out of the state.” What ideational frameworks underlie these public -private relationships? Findings from a survey of management consultant show that they believe that they are contracted because they provide knowledge that is unavailable inside the public sector and that their ideas are more innovative. This study helps to explain management consultants’ perceptions of their services contracted by US public sector. By gauging the perspectives of management consultants, this research will potentially help academics and practitioners to better understand public agencies’ contracting of management consultants. This article provides preliminary steps towards better understanding and analyzing the use of management consultants by different levels of the US public sector.

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