Defining and developing expertise in a consulting environment

Rajesh P Ramachandran, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

This qualitative research study focuses on defining expertise and expert development in the corporate consulting/professional services environment. The specific research questions pertaining to this study are (1) How do the internal leaders, consultants in the career expert consulting model, client-facing consulting executives and line consultants at the firm conceptualize and define an expert consultant? (2) Describe how expertise is developed in the management consulting workforce of the firm? For this study, the specific method of qualitative interviews was used to reach a concise definition of expertise and expert development in a corporate consulting environment. The evidence is sparse in the existing literature that helps define expertise and describes how experts are developed in a corporate setting, especially professional services firms. This study goes beyond the current literature on the topic of expertise and expert development to explore what it means to be an expert consultant and determine specific processes and techniques that can be used to increase the effectiveness of developing expert consultants in the corporate consulting/professional services environment. Arguably, this topic is relevant to corporations looking to further differentiate their talent and develop specialized skills for their employees. The findings in this study also suggest that the insights could be useful to the wider corporate environment as well as the learning field by providing a clear definition and career path for expertise development.

Subject Area

Adult education|Business education

Recommended Citation

Ramachandran, Rajesh P, "Defining and developing expertise in a consulting environment" (2009). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3374184.
https://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI3374184

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