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Organizational consultants and their use of consulting psychology competencies

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2009
Dissertation
Author: Sabrina M Wilson
Abstract:
In 2005, The Society of Consulting Psychology (SCP), a division of the American Psychological Association argues that a consultant must develop knowledge, skills, and abilities to intervene at three levels in organizations: individual, group, organizational. Given the consulting competencies promulgated by SCP, this is an ideal time to understand the actual use of the proposed competencies. A total of 140 participants completed an online survey regarding their reported use of competencies as defined by the SCP. This study assessed practice differences in the frequency of usage of consulting competencies among consultants. The following associated with frequency of usage were evaluated: years of consulting experience, consultant role (internal/external/sole proprietor), sex, consulting approach preference (process vs. expert), consultant training, and interaction of experience and approach. Results indicated that years of experience and consultant role were significant predictors of group and organizational competency usage. Consultant sex was a significant indicator of group competency usage. Results also revealed a combined influence of consultant role and sex on usage of organizational competencies. Exploratory analysis revealed that usage of organizational level competencies in consulting efforts were related to the greatest satisfaction with consulting. Frequency of consulting efforts that aimed to increase efficiency and effectiveness were significant predictors of overall satisfaction with consulting efforts. Frequency of consulting efforts aimed at enhancing individual well-being was a significant predictor of overall satisfaction with consulting efforts. It has been 14 years since the publication of a comprehensive study into the working practices of consultants. Most importantly, this study is the first attempt to better understand the reported use of the Society of Consulting Psychology/Organizational Consulting Psychology competencies.

Table of Contents List of Tables v List of Figures vi CHAPTER 1: REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE Overview of Consulting 1 Organizational Consulting and Competencies 3 Individual Level Competencies 6 Group Level Competencies 6 Organizational Level Competencies 7 Differences among Consultants 8 Internal and External Consultants 9 Process Consultation 12 Expert Consultation 13 The Consulting Process 14 Consultant Training 16 Years of Consulting Experience 17 Differences between Male and Female Consultants 18 Present Study 18 Hypotheses 20 CHAPTER 2: METHODS Participants 24 Questionnaire Development 24 Procedure 26 Materials 26 Sole Proprietor Consultants 27 CHAPTER 3: RESULTS Description of the Sample 29 Hypothesis One 30 Hypothesis Two 32 Hypothesis Three 33 Hypothesis Four 35 Hypothesis Five 35 Hypothesis Six 35 Exploratory Analysis 38 Overall Satisfaction with Consulting 38 Advanced Research Methods 39 Open Ended Responses 39 CHAPTER 4: DISCUSSION Significance of Findings 41 Years of Consulting Experience 42 in

Process Consulting 43 Exploratory Findings 44 Implications 44 Limitations of the Study 46 Future Research 47 Appendix A: 49 Appendix B: 50 Appendix C: 58 Appendix D: 63 Appendix E: 64 References 65 Vita Auctoris 71 iv

List of Tables Table 1: Division 13 Summary of Guidelines 5 Table 2: Competency Development Framework 6 Table 3: Differences: External and Internal Consultants 11 Table 4: Respondents Consultant Role and Sex 29 Table 5: Respondents Years of Experience and Role 29 Table 6: Respondents Education Level 30 Table 7: Respondents Industry Setting 30 Table 8: Bivariate Regression Model Predicting Individual, Group and Organizational Competency Usage 31 Table 9: Consultant Role and Usage of Group Competency 32 Table 10: Consultant Role and Usage of Organizational Competency 33 Table 11: Consultant Role and Sex on Usage of Organizational Competency 34 Table 12: Analysis of Variance for Group Competency Usage 34 Table 13: Analysis of Variance for Organizational Competency Usage 36 Table 14: Analysis of Variance for Individual Competency Usage 37 Table 15: Bivariate Regression Model Predicting Group and Organizational Competency Usage and Process Consulting 37 Table 16: Bivariate Regression Model Predicting Highest Group and Organizational Competency Usage and Highest Process Consulting 38 v

List of Figures Figure 1: Comprehensive Model of Hypotheses One through Five 23 Figure 2: Interaction Model: Consulting Experience and Approach 23 Figure 3: Use of Advanced Research Methods 39 VI

Chapter 1: Review of the Literature Overview of Consulting As business organizations respond to a rapidly changing competitive environment, organizational members have frequently relied on consultants to help introduce and disseminate needed knowledge into the workplace (Block, 1999; Education & Training Committee, Society of Consulting Psychology, 2006; Fuqua & Kurpius, 1993; Harrison & Shirom, 1999; Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 2006; Stroh & Johnson, 2006; Weiss, 2003a). From downsizing and outsourcing to assisting with leadership and cultural changes, organizational consultants have been called upon to help all levels of management transform their organizations into effective, efficient, and healthy places to work. According to Kurpius, Fuqua, and Rozecki (1991), "The greatest contribution a consultant can make to an organization is to help leaders and members effectively conceptualize the mission, structure, and process of their organization" (p. 2). By the mid-1980s, consulting companies garnered revenues that exceeded $10 billion a year with as many as 100,000 consultants offering services (Management Consultancy, 1988, as cited in Armenakis & Burdg, 1988). During the 1990s, U.S. revenue from consulting increased by at least 10% each year and by as much as 20% to 30% in most large firms. By 2000, the consulting profession experienced a substantial decrease in revenue and many firms were forced to downsize. This was mainly due to the effects of political and societal changes on the economy, which impacted organizations. However, recently the consulting profession has reaffirmed its positive trajectory and l

entered another period of growth. This growth is expected to be a steady trend for approximately the next decade (Massey, 2000; Stroh & Johnson, 2006). There is debate about the proficiency requirements for consultants. Some argue that consultants must have a robust body of knowledge of both core and foundational competencies (Cummings & Worley, 2001; Gallesich, 1985; Hamilton, 1988). In 2005, the most recent perspective was provided by The Society of Consulting Psychology (SCP), a division of the American Psychological Association. The SCP argued that a consultant must develop the knowledge, skills, and abilities to successfully intervene at three levels in organizations: individual, group, and organizational. SCP proposed specific competencies to be developed at each level. To date there is scarcity of literature on the consulting competencies. The purpose of this study is to better understand the actual use of the proposed competencies. For this study, a consultant is defined as "someone who either advises a client on the desirability of taking some action, or who assists the client in making a decision and then assists the client in planning or implementing action as determined by the client" (Stroh & Johnson, 2006, p. 3). Competencies are defined as the skills, behaviors and capabilities that allow organizational consultants to be effective in their work with client groups (Hellkamp, Zins, Ferguson, & Hodge, 1998; Levy, 2003; Ulrich, Wayne, Yeung, & Lake, 1995). Esque and Gilbert (1995) operationally define a competency as a "requirement that enables an individual to overcome the obstacles to meeting acceptable criteria for performance" (p. 65). The study presented in this paper focuses specifically 2

on organizational consultants, and evaluates the extent to which the SCP competencies are used. Organizational Consulting and Competencies Professional groups such as the Society of Consulting Psychology (SCP) and The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) have identified specific competencies and activities that organizational consultants should develop in order to help organizations solve problems (Table 1). These groups acknowledged that being an effective psychologist is not equivalent to being an effective consulting psychologist (Hellkamp & Morgan, 1990; Hellkamp, et al., 1998). The latter involves a specific body of knowledge and skill set that, if integrated and developed with psychological training, can produce effective consulting psychologists. Thus, after analyzing a decade of SCP survey results, and reviewing consultation literature, academic programs, and other American Psychological Association (APA) division policies, the Education and Training Committee (E&T) of the Society of Consulting Psychology developed organizational consulting guidelines that were accepted by APA in February 2005. These guidelines entail the identification of domain-specific competencies, with an emphasis on organizational consulting. The following will provide a context for studying the concept of competency. Thereafter, each of the competencies identified by SCP will be discussed below. Rodolfa, Eisman, Rehm, Bent, Nelson, and Ritchie (2005) provide a conceptual framework for studying competencies. Other groups (e.g., The American Psychological Association's (APA) Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct Accreditation of Programs in Professional Psychology) have emphasized competency domains, showing a shift in 3

focus from curriculum assessment to the assessment of education outcomes. The competency of doctoral graduates serves as an example. Rodolfa et al. (2005) competency development framework is consistent with SCP in offering competency domains (e.g., scientific foundations of psychology and research methods, intervention, consultation and interdisciplinary relationships, professional development issues), but expands this perspective by identifying foundational and functional competencies, the relationships between the two, and stages of professional development. They offer that the foundational and functional competency domains are mutually exclusive, interrelated, developmental in nature, and occur ongoing through a person's professional development. The domains are demonstrated differently based on profession (industrial organizational/clinical). For example, populations served (e.g., non-profit, industry), problems addressed (e.g., individual, global), procedures of theoretical orientation (e.g., systems thinking, psychoanalytic), and settings (clinical, organization). See Table 2. In addition, experts within the general and specialty areas have attempted to examine the definition of each domain, how and in what developmental sequence these competencies are achieved in the course of continuing education, how these domains are to be assessed, and how education and training for professional activities might be conceptualized in relation to competency development. Proctor (1991) and Reilly, Barclay, and Culbertson (1977) summarized the elements making up a competency to include what one brings to a job or role (knowledge), what the person does in the job or role (performance), and what is achieved by the person in a job or role (outcomes). 4

In contrast, the competency domains represent professional activity in which competencies are developed (e.g., intervention). This research sought to identify the factors that effect professional activities in various competency domains. In other words, are certain competency domains practiced because of certain characteristics of consultants (e.g., consultant years of experience, role, and type, etc.)? Table 1. Individual, Group and Organizational Level Core Competencies. Individual Level Group Level Competencies Organizational/Systemic-Level Competencies Competencies o Individual assessment for the purposes of career and vocational assessment o Individual assessment for purposes of employee selection or development o Job analysis for purposes of individual assessment o Executive and individual coaching o Individual-level intervention for job- and career-related problems o Assessment of functional and dysfunctional group behavior o Assessment and development of teams o Creating group-level teams in organizations (e.g., self-directed work groups) o Intergroup assessment and intervention o Group boundary assessment and intervention o Identity group (racial, gender, ethnic) management in the organizational context o Organizational diagnosis, including systemic assessment of the entire organization or large component parts of the organization o Attitude, climate, and satisfaction surveys o Evaluation of corporate management philosophy, organizational culture, and nature of systemic stressors o Workflow and project planning activities o Identification of aggregate performance measures o Assessment of organizational values and management practices o Organizational-level interventions o Change management of organizational systems Adapted from Education & Training Committee, Guidelines for Division 13 of The American Psychological Association (2007). These domains are mutually exclusive, are interrelated, developmental in nature and occur at every stage of professional development. Within each professional stage, the ways in which specialty education becomes relevant can be visualized through the 5

parameters of practice that differentiates specialties, namely: populations served, problems addressed, procedures of theoretical orientation, and settings. Table 2. Competency Framework for describing competency development in professional psychology. Functional Competency Foundational Competency Stages of Professional Domains Domain Development o Assessment/Diagnos is/ Conceptualization o Intervention o Consultation o Research/Evaluation o Supervision/Teachin g o Management/Admin istration o Reflective Practice/ o Self Assessment o Scientific Knowledge & Methods o Relationships o Ethical and Legal Standards/Policy Issues o Individual and Cultural Diversity o Interdisciplinary Systems o Doctoral Education o Doctoral Internship/Residenc y o Post Doctoral Supervision o Residency/Fellows hip o Continuing Competency Adapted from Rodolfa et al. (2005). The SCP suggests three competency levels that consulting psychologists must develop to help their clients solve problems: individual level competencies (e.g., selection), group level competencies (e.g., team building) and organizational level competencies (e.g., climate surveys). Individual Level Competencies The SCP asserts that consultants proficient with interventions at the individual level should have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to participate in activities such as individual assessment for purposes of hiring, employee selection or development. Group Level Competencies The SCP asserts that consultants proficient with intervening at the group level should have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to participate in activities such as improving interpersonal relations among task groups and group development. 6

Organizational Level Competencies The SCP asserts that consultants proficient with intervening at the organizational level should have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to participate in activities such as organizational surveys for purposes of assessment, strategic planning, and change management. Organizational consulting literature that examines specific competencies used by consultants has been focused on behavioral competencies or skills related to effective organizational development consulting (e.g., Esper, 1990; Lahti, 1999; Kurpius, Fuqua, & Rozecki, 1993; O'Driscoll & Eubanks, 1993,1994). O'Driscoll and Eubanks (1993) conducted cross-national comparisons between North American and New Zealand Organization Development consultants. For purposes of this paper, organization development (OD) consultants apply behavioral science principles when helping organizations intervene at the individual, group, and organization level. Personal development is integral to this relationship with organization members. French and Bell (1995) described team building as a commonly used intervention strategy, which aims for greater effectiveness by increasing people's capacities to understand each other and work together constructively. These researchers found differences between client and consultant perceptions related to consultant effectiveness, as indicated by self report measures. The differences included data feedback and breaking down problems into actionable activities. These authors suggested future research should investigate consultants with varying amounts of experience. Investigation of consultant experience levels related to use of competencies in consulting efforts provides additional insight into the activities of new, mid-career, and 7

senior consultants. This information would enable consultants to better understand patterns of career development in consulting. Also, other under studied differences due to consultant role (e.g., external/internal/sole proprietor), consultant training, and consulting approach would be valuable to organizational consultants. Differences among Consultants Organizational consulting has garnered much attention as a value-added proposition to achieving organizational effectiveness (Bennis, 1969; Block, 1999; Fuqua & Kurpius, 1993; Stroh & Johnson, 2006; Weiss, 2003a). However, as stated by Massey (2000), the current accelerated growth of the consulting profession has left a gap between theory and practice. Research suggests that organizational consulting is utilized optimally when the consultant and client understand the dynamics of the consulting process, consulting approaches, and roles (Glasser, 2002; Gottlieb, 2001; Schein, 1999). Gottlieb (2001) and Glasser (2002) suggested that future research should compare the differences of organizational consultants with diverse characteristics (e.g., consultant training) and the impact of these characteristics on consulting efforts. Researchers also have proffered that information about organizational consultants' skill requirements/competencies should be garnered to ensure the success of the consulting profession and to guide the curriculum for academic institutions engaged in training future consultants (Bowers, 1973; Blanton, 2000; Church & Burke, 1993; Church, Burke, & Van Eynde, 1994; Cote, 2004; Gottlieb, 2001; O'Driscoll & Eubanks, 1993; Education & Training Committee, Society of Consulting Psychology, American Psychological Association, 2002). Specifically, the organizational consulting literature revealed several differences among consultants that have not been empirically researched and may impact the extent 8

to which consulting competencies are used: differences due to consultant role, consulting approach and education/training setting, consultant sex and years of consulting experience (Church et al. 1994; Glasser, 2002; Gottlieb, 2001; Massey, 2000; Waclawski, Church, & Burke, 1995; Weiss, 2003b). Each of these under studied differences will be discussed in the section below. Internal and External Consultants Many authors have noted differences between internal and external consultants (e.g., Block, 1999; Brewer, 2002; Cummings & Worley, 2001; Dougherty, 1990; Stroh & Johnson, 2006). Block (1999) states that internal consultants are part of the client system, including the hierarchical relationships and politics indicative of client systems. More important, internal consultants have an organizational supervisor and organizational departmental objectives that must also be fulfilled. Stroh and Johnson (2006) also propose differences between external and internal consultants as well as several advantages and disadvantages of being an internal versus external consultant. A discussion of the differences is provided below. In addition, a unique group of consultants, called sole proprietors will be discussed. Internal Consultants Internal consultants are staff within the same organization where they offer consulting services. They often hold such titles as organization and management development consultant or human resources generalist. Their primary job responsibility is to provide consulting services to departmental units and/or teams in their own organization (Gottlieb, 2001;). Internal consultants are part of the client system. They are expected to identify with the mission, vision, and culture of the company and may 9

experience a perceived pressure to implement the organization's preferred solutions and/or popular fads (Block, 1999; Weiss, 2003a). This poses a dilemma for the internal consultant because he or she is responsible for meeting both the client needs and also fulfilling human resources and organization development commitments. For example, an internal consultant may receive pressure from his or her supervisor to advocate the next best management approach (e.g., six-sigma, management-by-objectives), even if this approach is not the most effective intervention. Also, the internal consultant's performance evaluation may be based upon how many client groups adopt the proffered management approach. The departmental reward system may be structured so that the consultant is evaluated based on how many clients adopt the sanctioned strategies. Additionally, internal consultants may be expected to sell their department's favored programs. There may be an expectation that the consultant convert "naysayers" or opponents of the change process. Internal consultants have a fairly limited amount of opportunities to prove their credibility to the client. For example, if the internal consultant does not meet the expectations of one or two key clients then their job security may be threatened. Another important factor is that the internal consultant's job status and level is known to most client groups, and in some cases access to key stakeholder groups may be limited. An external consultant's status is more ambiguous and this frequently affords the opportunity to be in contact with key decision makers. Last, internal consultants are viewed as part of the client system and their client groups may interpret them as being part of the problem and be less trusting of their intentions to be helpful. Table 3 describes differences between external and internal consultants. 10

External Consultants External consultants are hired to work on a particular project for a designated period of time and once the project is complete, these consultants move on to a different organization. The Society for Industrial Organizational Psychology (2006) reported that 55% of their membership identified as external consultants. Because external consultants work with many companies on various organizational problems, they tend to possess a wider scope of knowledge. For example, these consultants may be hired to help solve problems related to change management, including staffing, leadership issues, and technology. Once an external consultant has helped to solve these types of problems in various industries and also has built a reputation of credibility and integrity, they may be hired back and/or receive additional business through referrals (Cummings & Worley, 2001; Stroh & Johnson, 2006; Weiss, 2003a). Table 3: Differences Between Internal and External Consultants Variable External Consultant Internal Consultant Work Experiences Accessibility Organization Familiarity Perspective Politics Cost Abundant experience with multiple companies Accessibility limited to time of contract Applies general understanding of organizations to client organization Objective perspective Less familiar with client political structure Cost effective Experience with client groups in same organization Ongoing accessibility to client organization More familiar with organizational culture Perspective may be biased due to relationship with client organization Understands politics of getting things done Standing cost to the organization Adapted from Stroh & Johnson, 2006 11

Approaches to Organizational Consulting The organizational consulting literature suggests two basic approaches to consulting: process and expert (Block, 1999; Schein, 1999; Kahnweiler, 2002; Stroh & Johnson, 2006). A consultant may tend to gravitate toward one approach versus the other, but effective consultants are cognizant of when to modify their approach depending on the client's need. A consultant may choose to combine the roles of expert or process as the problem is further explored and the client's needs are refined. The key is to understand which approach is better suited for the situation and to help the client move towards greater effectiveness. Process Consultation Schein (1999) defines process consultation as "a set of activities on the part of the consultant that help the client to perceive, understand, and act upon the process events that occur in the client's environment" (p. 34). The primary goal is to help clients assess and solve their own problems. The process consultant assists the client with defining the problem, analyzing the situation, evaluating possible solutions, and deciding on the best solution as well as alternatives and how to implement the proposed changes. A distinct advantage to this approach is that the client is involved in every phase of the consulting process, including analyzing the problem and identifying what actions are to be taken. As a result, there is an increased sense of commitment and ownership by the client which ultimately results in the likelihood that proposed changes will be implemented (Cummings & Worley, 2001; Kahnweiler, 2002; Kaplan, 1979; Kurpius et al., 1993). Fischer and Rabaut (1992) maintain that "the most effective consultants are those who work together with the client every step of the way to define key issues and implement 12

solutions... this collaborative style of consulting enables a client to transform the business to meet exciting challenges" (p. 53). However, there is a distinct problem associated with this approach. If the client organization does not have the skill set and/or time to make this approach successful, this may create inadequate decision making, as well as resistance (Kahnweiler, 2002; Stroh & Johnson, 2006). Expert Consultation Expert consultation is defined as a set of activities by which the "client purchases from the consultant some information or expert service." (Schein, 1999, p. 7). Block (1999) adds that in the expert approach the client expects to hold the consultant responsible for results and the consultant accepts the responsibility and feels free to develop and implement action plans. The expert consultation approach is similar to the typical model of medical treatment. For example, the patient reveals symptoms to the physician who prescribes remedies to the symptoms (Cummings & Worley, 2001). This process is similar to the business context. Here the client provides a consultant with a problem. The consultant analyzes organizational data, provides a diagnosis of the problem and ultimately provides expert recommendations on how the problem can be resolved. The key point is that the expert consultation approach renders an expert opinion that solves the client's problem without building the client's capacity to solve future problems. A clear advantage of this approach is its usefulness when the client organization does not have the expertise to tackle the problem on its own. With global changes and increased complexity of the organizational environment, expert consultation can be an invaluable resource (Stroh & Johnson, 2006). However, by employing such an 13

approach, the consultant may not consider the unique complexity that exists with the client organization and this may result in recommendations that do not address the distinct challenges faced by the client organization (Kahnweiler, 2002; Stroh & Johnson, 2006). The Consulting Process An effective consulting process is essential to achieving a successful outcome (Weiss, 2003 a). Professional consulting training should focus on the importance of the consulting process, including the introduction of consulting approaches, models, theories, principles, competencies, and case studies (Education & Training Committee, Society of Consulting Psychology, 2002; Glasser, 2002; Hellkamp et al., 1998; Stroh & Johnson, 2006). This section provides an overview of the consulting process and factors that contribute to moving through the process successfully. Block (1999) and Massarik and Pei-Carpenter (2002) proposed several phases of the consulting process. The phases are (a) entry and contracting (b) discovery and dialogue (c) feedback (d) engagement and implementation and (e) extension, recycle, or (f) termination. Entry and Contracting Entry involves the consultant's initial contact with the client including meeting with key stakeholders, identifying potential problems, and determining client-consultant fit. Other activities include establishing client and consultant expectations (Goldstein & Ford, 2002; Kramer, Kleindorfer, & Colarelli, 19921 Massarik & Pei-Carpenter, 2002; Stroh & Johnson, 2006). When clients identify barriers to implementation, they usually refer to issues that occurred during the entry phase. 14

Discovery and Dialogue Discovery and dialogue help both the consultant and client develop their own sense of the problem. The consultant and client begin to define the root problems. This is best done as a collaborative effort. Key activities may include identifying data collection methods, exploring the types of data to collect and establishing how long the process will take (Block, 1999; Massarik & Pei-Carpenter, 2002). Feedback A way to successfully move through this phase is to ensure that feedback is practical and useful, concise, and easy for the client organization to understand (Cummings & Worley, 2001; Nadler, 1996; Stroh & Johnson, 2006). When feedback possesses these characteristics then there is a greater likelihood that action will be taken based on the data. However, there is always potential for the client to be resistant to the data (Noe, 2002). The consultant must help the client handle this resistance and focus on ways to move forward (Hurley, Church, Burke, & Van Eynde, 1992; Massarik & Pei- Carpenter, 2002). Engagement and Implementation Once action steps are determined based on the feedback, the consultant engages the client in implementing the actions. Engagement and implementation may take the form of training and development or some other way to increase education and awareness related to the data (Kirkpatrick, 1994). Whatever the case may be, the consultant should ensure that the client is engaged and is committed to institutionalizing the change efforts. 15

Extension, Recycle or Termination This phase allows the consultant and client to evaluate the implementation efforts (Phillips, 2000. Evaluation is followed by the decision to implement next steps or not. In some cases, if the implementation effort was unsuccessful, evaluation may reveal the real problem and there may be plans for another implementation. Evaluation may also identify failures in implementation and there may be plans for termination. Clearly, effective consulting psychologists need to understand the consultation process and factors that enable both consultant and client to successfully move through the process (Hellkamp et al., 1998; Leonard, 1999; Robinson-Kurpius, Fuqua, Gibson, & Froehle, 1995; Wirtenberg, Abrams, & Ott, 2004). Consultant Training The scientist-practitioner training model is the underlying framework of applied psychology (Education & Training Committee, Society of Consulting Psychology, 2002). The goal of this model is to train I/O psychologists to become both generators and consumers of knowledge; training must be focused on both theory and application (Levy, 2003). I/O psychologists adopt this approach as their preferred form of consulting training (Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 2006). Consequently, consulting psychologists trained in the scientist-practitioner model are guided by the actual science of psychology, when evaluating and assessing the effectiveness of consulting approaches, interventions and assessment methodologies associated with these activities (Education & Training Committee, Society of Consulting Psychology, 2002; Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 1999). The 16

Full document contains 82 pages
Abstract: In 2005, The Society of Consulting Psychology (SCP), a division of the American Psychological Association argues that a consultant must develop knowledge, skills, and abilities to intervene at three levels in organizations: individual, group, organizational. Given the consulting competencies promulgated by SCP, this is an ideal time to understand the actual use of the proposed competencies. A total of 140 participants completed an online survey regarding their reported use of competencies as defined by the SCP. This study assessed practice differences in the frequency of usage of consulting competencies among consultants. The following associated with frequency of usage were evaluated: years of consulting experience, consultant role (internal/external/sole proprietor), sex, consulting approach preference (process vs. expert), consultant training, and interaction of experience and approach. Results indicated that years of experience and consultant role were significant predictors of group and organizational competency usage. Consultant sex was a significant indicator of group competency usage. Results also revealed a combined influence of consultant role and sex on usage of organizational competencies. Exploratory analysis revealed that usage of organizational level competencies in consulting efforts were related to the greatest satisfaction with consulting. Frequency of consulting efforts that aimed to increase efficiency and effectiveness were significant predictors of overall satisfaction with consulting efforts. Frequency of consulting efforts aimed at enhancing individual well-being was a significant predictor of overall satisfaction with consulting efforts. It has been 14 years since the publication of a comprehensive study into the working practices of consultants. Most importantly, this study is the first attempt to better understand the reported use of the Society of Consulting Psychology/Organizational Consulting Psychology competencies.