Monash Warwick Professor Ian Kirkpatrick evaluates management consultants
Healthcare systems are under increasing pressures to provide high-quality care in the context of continuing improvements in medical diagnostics, ageing populations and constrained resources. As health service managers struggle to keep up in such contexts, many turn to management consultants for advice. In the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK, one of the largest employers in the world, an average of £1.2million are spent annually on management consulting services in each NHS Trust, according to Professor Ian Kirkpatrick from Warwick Business School.
During a recent visit to Monash University, Professor Kirkpatrick, Monash Warwick Professor of Healthcare Improvement & Implementation Science, presented an interesting seminar, ‘Management Consultants & Public Sector Reform: The Case of the NHS’. It was hosted by the Australian Consortium for Research in Employment & Work (ACREW), Centre for Global Business, Monash Business School.
ACREW Co-Director Professor Greg Bamber (Department of Management) said ‘although Professor Kirkpatrick et al.’s research was conducted in the UK, we in Australia can also learn important lessons from their research. Kirkpatrick et al. show how astute researchers can open up seemingly inaccessible yet important areas of debate.’
Noting the ‘revolving door’ of management consultants in the NHS who seem to create their own demand - for example, by providing advice on outsourcing services, and those very outsourcing services - Kirkpatrick et al. ask whether NHS managers could be ‘addicted to consultants’, and thus whether there might be a case of consultant overuse in the NHS. Despite claims by management consultants that they yield a generous return on investment for money spent on their services, Kirkpatrick et al. found no rigorous evaluations of the value produced by management consulting services anywhere, in any sector. They set out to address this.
Using the available data on management consulting expenditure in the NHS, and analysing the relationship between this expenditure and hospital efficiency-related outcomes, Kirkpatrick et al. found that, in addition to the £1.2 million spent each year on management consulting services, each Trust loses more than a further £10,000 of value in terms of reduced efficiency.
PhD student Adamina Ivcovici (Department of Management) commented ‘This is a compelling finding that opens up the value of management consulting for investigation - something that has, until now, generally been brushed aside as too difficult to evaluate.’
Professor Kirkpatrick plans to visit Monash regularly to promote research collaboration through the Monash Warwick Alliance (monashwarwick.org).
Back row: Greg Bamber (right), Trang Tran, Ian Kirkpatrick, Brian Cooper; Mitch Cunningham Front row: Adamina Ivcovici (right), Tracy Robinson, Evelyn Suk Yi Looi
Seminar- What's happening to HRM In the 'post-globalisation' world?
Date - Thursday 23 March 2017
Presentor- Professor Chris Brewster, University of Reading, UK.
Chris Brewster is Professor of International Human Resource Management at Henley Business School, University of Reading in the UK; and at Nijmegen University in the Netherlands. He had substantial experience as a practitioner and gained his doctorate from the LSE before becoming an academic.
He researches in the field of international and comparative HRM; and has published thirty books and more than two hundred articles. He has taught in many countries around the world. In 2006 Chris was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Vaasa, Finland.