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MARTHY MCCASKEY* Martha McCaskey1 felt both elated and uneasy after her late Friday meeting with Tom Malone and Bud Hackert, two of the top managers in Praxis Associates’ Industry Analysis division. Malone, the division’s de facto COO, had said that upon successful completion of the Silicon 6 study, for which McCaskey was project leader, she would be promoted to group manager. The promotion would mean both a substantial increase in pay and a reprieve from the tedious field work typical of Praxis’ consulting projects. Completing the Silicon 6 project, however, meant a second session with Phil Devon, the one person who could provide her with the information required by Praxis’ client. Now, McCaskey reflected, finishing the project…show more content…
Now, McCaskey wondered, would the next step to success mean playing the game the way everyone else did? PRAXIS ASSOCIATES Praxis was a medium-sized consulting firm based in Chicago with offices in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Founded in 1962 by three professors who taught accounting in Chicago area universities, the firm had grown to nearly 350 employees by 1986. Over this period, Praxis had expanded its practice into four divisions: Management Control and Systems (which had been the original practice of the firm), Financial Services, General Management, and Industry Analysis. These expansions had taken place within a policy of conservative, controlled growth to ensure that the firm maintained a high level of quality of services and an informal, “think tank” atmosphere. Throughout its history, Praxis had enjoyed a reputation for high technical and professional standards. Industry Analysis was the newest and smallest of Praxis’ four divisions. It had been created in 1982 in response to increasing demand for industry and competitive analysis by clients of Praxis’ Financial Services and General Management divisions. Industry and competitive analysis involved an examination of the competitive forces in industries, and identifying and developing ways in which firms could create and sustain competitive advantage through a distinctive competitive strategy. Unlike the other three divisions, the Industry Analysis division was a separate,
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