Title of thesis
- Management consultancy and the UK state in the twentieth century and beyond (c. 1920-2010)
- In 2005, it was estimated that UK public sector agencies spent nearly £3bn on management consultancy services. Despite several government reports on the issue and considerable negative attention from the popular press, there has been relatively little scholarly investigation as to the origins and nature of the British state’s use of management consultancy firms. This research seeks to explain the rise of management consultancy services procured by the UK state during the twentieth century, which in the late 1960s represented 0.01% of public sector expenditure, but by the mid-2000s had risen by a factor of forty to 0.4%. Consequently, this research is focussed on answering three major questions: i) why have management consultants been brought into the machinery of the state?; ii) what has been the impact on the nature of state power of bringing profit-seeking actors into the machinery of the state?; and iii) how has the nature of management consultancy changed over time? These three research questions will engage with major debates around the nature of the British state, perceived relative economic declined, elite power networks, the nature of the consultancy industry and the diffusion of management ideas throughout public and private sectors.
- Research interests: state formation and development; elite networks; business history; relative economic decline; political history.