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Consultants and Government (PADM10001)

Undergraduate level 1Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelUndergraduate Level 1
Subject codePADM10001
Semester 2
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

Management consulting is one of the great success stories of the last century, and several consultant ideas have shaped the ways in which we live and work today. But how have they done this? Is this a problem? And what do consultants actually do, anyway?

This subject is an introduction to management consulting. It will explore what consultants actually do on a day-to-day basis; the historical and philosophical roots of the industry; and the ways in which their ideas have shaped the global economy. In doing so, it will focus on the functional aspects of consulting work (including different consulting tools and methods), as well as the more political or conceptual (including the relationship between science and management, and the role that consultants play in politics). The subject will specifically unpack the differences between consulting to government, and consulting to the private sector.

The subject will suit those who are interested in pursuing a career in management consulting, or who anticipate needing to regularly work with consultants. It will also appeal to anyone who has a general interest in demystifying this fascinating phenomenon!

Intended learning outcomes

  • Be able to demonstrate a critical understanding of how public managers can most effectively work with consultants
  • Understand the key differences and similarities between public and private sector management, and the differing roles of consultants in each
  • Be able to critically assess different forms of evidence produced by consultants, and how that evidence might best be used in improving public management
  • Be familiar with the historical evolution of consulting to government, and how that relates to trends in public management
  • Be able to articulate some of the conceptual and philosophical issues raised by the consulting phenomenon

Generic skills

  • A comprehensive understanding of the strategic environment in which consultants and public sector managers operate
  • A high-level ability to combine theory and practice in a meaningful way
  • Flexible communication skills with a highly attuned sensitivity to a diverse audience
  • An understanding of the role of consultants in public policy, and the conceptual problems it raises
  • Detailed knowledge of the history of the consulting industry, and the relationship between this historical evolution and modern approaches to governance

Eligibility and requirements





Non-allowed subjects


Core participation requirements

The University of Melbourne is committed to providing students with reasonable adjustments to assessment and participation under the Disability Standards for Education (2005), and the Assessment and Results Policy (MPF1326). Students are expected to meet the core participation requirements for their course. These can be viewed under Entry and Participation Requirements for the course outlines in the Handbook.

Further details on how to seek academic adjustments can be found on the Student Equity and Disability Support website: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/student-equity/home



  • 1,500-word case study analysis (45%) - due in week 4
  • 1,500-word research essay (45%) - due in week 8
  • 10 minute in-class presentation (10%) - during week 10

Dates & times

  • Semester 2
    Principal coordinatorMartin Bortz
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Parkville
    Contact hours3 hours per week (2 x 1-hour lectures and 1 x 1-hour tutorial)
    Total time commitment170 hours
    Teaching period29 July 2019 to 27 October 2019
    Last self-enrol date 9 August 2019
    Census date31 August 2019
    Last date to withdraw without fail27 September 2019
    Assessment period ends22 November 2019

Further information

  • Texts

    Prescribed texts

    Readings will be provided online through the subject's LMS site prior to the commencement of the subject.

  • Breadth options
  • Available through the Community Access Program

    About the Community Access Program (CAP)

    This subject is available through the Community Access Program (also called Single Subject Studies) which allows you to enrol in single subjects offered by the University of Melbourne, without the commitment required to complete a whole degree.

    Entry requirements including prerequisites may apply. Please refer to the CAP applications page for further information.

  • Available to Study Abroad and/or Study Exchange Students

    This subject is available to students studying at the University from eligible overseas institutions on exchange and study abroad. Students are required to satisfy any listed requirements, such as pre- and co-requisites, for enrolment in the subject.

Last updated: 12 June 2019