23 Nov 2021

CMCE Research Awards 2021 winners revealed

The Centre for Management Consulting Excellence announced the winners of its third annual Research Awards on 11th November in an online ceremony that celebrated the quality and insightfulness of this year’s submissions.  Attended by the finalists and various members of the management consulting profession, the event was an opportunity for attendees to hear directly from the winners and gain a deeper understanding of the work behind the winning papers.

The CMCE Awards are a unique initiative to promote excellence in academic research that is of value to the management consultancy profession. Every year the Centre assesses a variety of research papers that were published in English in the preceding two years and are considered instrumental in helping the consulting community identify and implement new ideas and innovative approaches that could help shape the future of the practice.

The Centre presents Awards for research falling within one of the three following categories:

  1. Client-consultant relationships: looking at issues around governance, trust, integrity, social responsibility and ethics and the implications of these for consultancy.
  2. Technology and consulting:  focusing on the application of new technologies and their relevance to consultancy.
  3. The Changing Environment of the Consultant: identifying and analysing the demands that changes in society and the business environment are placing on consultants

During the ceremony the winner of the Urwick Cup was also announced.  This prestigious recognition is awarded by the Worshipful Company of Management Consultants to commemorate the life and work of the distinguished management consultant, writer and educator Colonel Lyndall Fownes Urwick.

The winners of the CMCE Research Awards 2021 in each category are:

. In the Technology and Consulting category
The award was presented to Abayomi Baiyere, Hannu Salmela, and Tommi Tapanainen for their paper ’Digital transformation and the new logics of business process management’, published in European Journal of Information Systems Mar 1, 2020.

The judges felt that this paper proposed a useful model that went beyond digital transformation and change and would help organisations getting stuck in “digital concrete”.

. In the Client Relationships category

The award was presented to Michael J.Gill,, Gerry McGivern, Andrew Sturdy, Sandra Pereira, David J. Gill, Sue Dopson, (Universities of Oxford, Warwick, Bristol, and Nottingham) for their paper ‘Negotiating imitation: Examining the interactions of consultants and their clients to understand institutionalization as translation’, published in British Journal of Management, volume 31, 2020

Calvert Markham, panel judge and former teacher of consulting skills commented that this paper deserved the highest accolade in that it should be included in the training of management consultants.

. In the Changing Environment for the Consultant category

The award was presented to Denis Fischbacher-Smith, Glasgow University for his paper ‘Managing the threats from insiders: Systems ergonomics and strategy as a practice’, presented at the Strategy as Practice Track at the British Academy of Management Annual Conference, BAM in the Cloud, 1st-4th September 2020.

This paper concerned a security threat that was often ignored and highlighted the role that management consultants could play in helping clients understand it better.

The Urwick Cup

The Urwick Cup is presented for an outstanding piece of research or thought leadership, published in the last two years and relevant to the management consultancy field. This year it was awarded to the paper that most supports consultants in delivering against ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) goals. The paper ‘Elitism in Strategy Consulting’ by Prof Joe O’Mahoney and Ioanna Mavridopoulou of Cardiff University, published in the Management Consulting Journal was considered by the judges to provide breakthrough thinking in an area of diversity that had hitherto not been examined and therefore could have significant impact on the recruitment approaches in future.

Commenting on this year’s awards, Nick Bush, Director of CMCE said “I’m delighted that we had such a strong field of papers to choose from this year. All the award winners and the finalists had something insightful to offer the world of management consulting. We look forward to building on these insights and taking the debate forward about what constitutes excellence in consulting in the coming months.”


Editor’s note: The Centre for Management Consulting Excellence is a collaborative professional community for the assessment and sharing of leading and emerging practices in management consulting open to anyone with an interest in management consultancy, from practitioners, academics, students to clients and buyers of consulting services.


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