1980-1989
1980s

A resurgence of economic growth and prosperity, much of it on the West Coast in Silicon Valley. Consultants gain increasing legitimacy as more and more MBA-trained professional managers move up the ranks. Service sector of the economy starting to become dominant. Volume of consulting work doubles and triples in this time as a variety of new firms fill niches and opportunities left open by generalist companies.

1980

Michael Porter publishes Competitive Strategy followed by Competitive Advantage in 1985. These become the most influential business books of the day.

1982

Tom Peters and Robert Waterman publish In Search of Excellence, which illustrates how leading business follow key principles to achieve success. Companies are encouraged to focus on what they do best. This book seizes the imagination of thousands of business leaders and also helps to start a thriving trade market in business books, often written by consultants.

1983

Monitor is founded by Michael Porter and Mark Fuller, two HBS Professors. Firm tries a variety of new ideas out on Fortune 100 firms. Things must have worked because soon business is being turned away. Today, Monitor continues to innovate using a variety of non-traditional strategic management tools.

1983

Serious disaffection at Bain & Co. A variety of big shots leave. Starts a separate capital management spinoff unit called Bain Capital. Hard feelings persist today, but Bain is doing great.

1983

T. Boone Pickens announces an attempt to takeover Gulf Oil whose stock price had been languishing. Jimmy Lee, Gulf CEO, fights the takeover attempt vehemently, but eventually has to sell his firm to Chevron to avoid a takeover. Takeovers and mergers boom for the next five years, providing large amounts of work to consulting firms, especially those involved in company valuation and strategic advice

1984

George Bennett sells Braxton Associates to Deloitte & Touche. Founds Symmetrix which now employs 130 people.

1986

General Motors purchases EDS, a computer services outsourcing firm from Ross Perot. Sales and market share boom due to effective marketing and a well-organized service.

1988

An MIT survey finds 10-15% of top executives have computers in their offices, but only 50% can can operate them properly. Good news for consultants and outsourcing firms, whose systems business is thriving.


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