Acquiring knowledge through management consultancy: A national culture perspective

Joe O'Mahoney, Andrew J Sturdy, Anna Galazka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


This article examines how national culture informs the sourcing of management knowledge through external consultancy. Firstly, it hypothesises and compares the relationship between quantitative measures of Hofstede’s cultural indices with adjusted expenditure on consulting in nine countries. Two cultural indices are found to correlate with consulting use – power distance (negatively) and individualism (positively). However, the disparity between our findings and prior research suggests limitations of generalisation in studies solely employing quantitative cultural indices to understand the purchasing of business knowledge. We therefore propose the use of supplementary, qualitative data with sensitivity to local contexts and briefly apply this by using secondary sources to provide historical narratives for two countries - the UK and Japan. Overall, we find and tentatively explain significant statistical relationships between Hofstede’s cultural indices and adjusted expenditure on consultancy. We then draw attention to wider implications for consulting research and for practitioners involved in this context.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Management and Organization
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 16 Aug 2021


  • Management knowledge
  • Management consultancy
  • professional services
  • National culture
  • Hofstede.


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