When Consultants and Clients Clash (HBR Case Study and Commentary)
This fictitious case study by Idalene F. Kesner, the Frank P. Popoff Professor at Indiana University, and Sally Fowler, assistant professor at Victoria University, explores the issues that arise when the wires get crossed between a team of consultants and their key client. The client is the CEO of a newly-merged company; the consultants have been hired to help knit together the two former companies' policies and cultures. Unfortunately, the client's impression of the current status of the new company and the consultants' assessment of the situation facing them are vastly different. In 97605 and 97605Z, John Rau, Charles Fombrum, Robert H. Schaffer, and David H. Maister advise the consultants and the client about their options, offer their perspectives on what makes a good client/consultant relationship, and discuss the difficulties that face newly merged companies. THIS CASE STUDY INCLUDES BOTH THE CASE AND THE COMMENTARY. FOR TEACHING PURPOSES, THE REPRINT IS ALSO AVAILABLE IN TWO OTHER VERSIONS: CASE STUDY-ONLY, reprint 97605X, AND COMMENTARY-ONLY, reprint 97605Z.