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The first factor was what the respondents referred to as the “honesty factor”, that is the consultant’s willingness “to speak the truth”, rather than mask their views regarding the current and future position of the business. The second factor on which
the client’s based their notions of trust was the “confidentiality factor”. This was described as the ability of the consultant to protect the commercial sensitivity of the information they gained in the course of the project.
This tacit agreement appears to have been perceived as binding on both parties and is largely moral in nature and not governed by any formal contract. One respondent in the study made reference to a “bargain” between her and the consultant, an arrangement in which she felt” … expected to complete tasks” such as gathering information relevant to the consultants next visit whilst also having expectations of the consultant such as ” … turning up on time”. The importance of this tacit agreement lies in its role to set parameters for the expectations of the behaviour of both parties during the course of the consultancy. Additional research into the nature of this tacit agreement and its influence on the level of co-operation between a consultant and client appears
Clients “trusted” a consultant’s recommendation on the basis of their expectation of gaining a benefit for the business from the recommendation against the risk of financial loss from implementing the recommendation. Most importantly, for a consultant’s recommendations to be adopted by a client it appeared necessary for a client to have both trust in the consultant as a person as well as trust in the specific recommendation.
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