Work-life balance in Consulting : from individual proactivity to organisational arrangements

Abstract : This thesis aims at studying the tensions that professional service firms (audit firms, consultancies...) have been facing for the past thirty years, through the lens of work-life balance. While these firms are increasingly questioned in the media for their managerial practices that encourage their salaries to excel themselves; they have never been so active in communicating on quality of work-life. Through a review of the literature, I show that the up- or-out incentive system of professional organisations lies on the assumption that professionals all mostly aspire to see their commitment rewarded by bonuses and promotions. Through the analysis of 58 consultants’ career stories, I identify two additional dimensions of their experience at work: the nature of the projects they are assigned and work-life balance. Then, the techniques they use to fulfil these aspirations are described. Second, after studying the managerial discourse on work-life balance in 9 consultancies, through the comparative case study of two firms I analyse the adjustments they have implemented to accommodate individual needs. I discuss the extent to which these evolutions challenge the traditional organisation of professional service firms, at a time when they are increasingly threatened by low levels of growth in the industry; pressure on cost; the sophistication of clients’ demands and the uberisation of the economy, which has also reached professional services.
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Lucie Noury. Work-life balance in Consulting : from individual proactivity to organisational arrangements. Business administration. Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris, 2015. English. ⟨NNT : 2015ENMP0056⟩. ⟨tel-01306681⟩

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