How the international consulting industry is using Knowledge Management as a key response to the development of the ‘information society’

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Joyce, Fergus
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MSc in International Business
Dublin Business School
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The objective of this Research Dissertation is to add value to the extant literature on international consulting and knowledge management by exploring the ways in which the international consulting industry is using knowledge management as a key response to the challenges posed for the industry by the emerging 'Information Society' phenomenon. The Dissertation attempts to achieve this objective through the medium of complementary primary and secondary research conducted among leading organisations in the international consulting arena, and their client-base. The research methodology chosen was a qualitative one focused on interviews with practicing consultants in major consulting organisations, allied to complementary interviews with knowledge managers in client firms. The Information Society phenomenon has given birth to a vastly more dynamic and complex business environment for all businesses in all industries than has ever existed before. In this new environment, the importance of managing 'intellectual capital' as a potential competitive weapon in the organisational armoury is being increasingly highlighted by daily events as the marketplace becomes ever more competitive in nature and global in scope. The Information Society phenomenon itself continues to gather pace, being relentlessly driven forward towards further economic growth by exponential advances in digital technologies. This is especially so in the area of information and communications technologies, which have become key sources of competitive advantage, and dis-advantage, for many international businesses; depending on how well they have coped with the changes in their environment wrought by the new technologies and by related economic and social phenomena. This rapidly changing international business landscape is forcing many organisations to re-evaluate how they use their information-related resources in the pursuit of the achievement of their core business objectives. Top international companies, in particular, who wish to benefit from the new digital technologies and the market opportunities they are creating are being forced, in consequence, to implement change on a scale, and at a speed, hitherto undreamt of. Many of them are all too aware that failure to do so will tum the opportunities involved into competitive threats, especially where taken up instead by rival firms. Consequently, they have turned in significant numbers to the consulting industry for assistance in coming to terms with the new business environment and its complex challenges.