One can create a hierarchy of purposes of management consulting. This hierarchy will consist of the following eight purposes:
- Provide requested information
- Provide a solution to a given problem
- Conduct diagnosis that may redefine problem
- Provide recommendations
- Assist implementation
- Build consensus and commitment
- Facilitate client learning
- Improve organizational effectiveness
Purposes 1 to 5 are considered legitimate functions in society. However, some controversy still remains around purpose 5. Management consultants do not directly impact purposes 6 to 8, but many firms are beginning to move towards them. As one moves from purpose one to purpose 8 the amount of specialization needed increases. Also, as we move up the hierarchy of purposes the higher ones are more ambitious.
This hierarchy shows us that the purpose of management consulting is not limited to providing advice. The purpose of management consulting begins with providing requested information to the client and can end with improving organizational effectiveness on the whole. Hence, to put it in short, the purpose of management consulting is to improve the life of the client by solving whatever problem they put before you.