The Downside of Scientific Consulting



Judging from the reported high level of failures, full-time scientific consulting is clearly a high-risk business. Based on long observation, we think that this problem has its foundation in the genetic background, the training, and especially the mind-set of scientists. Most of them are not business-oriented, and many of them actively dislike anything related to business practices. They are the ones who belong in universities, government research laboratories, or some types of industrial research laboratories—leaving the rough and tumble of consulting to the small fraction of their cohorts who, because of family background, desire for a better living standard, or maybe some kind of inherited trait, are comfortable in the intensely practical world of the consultant. This minority, who might be called “atypical” scientists, comprise the group from which business successes are drawn—the scientists willing, able, and preconditioned to adapt to a sometimes harsh new environment, and to carry their technical expertise with them.


Individual Practitioner Business Failure Hide Agenda Original Contract Client Company 
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© Carl J. Sindermann and Thomas K. Sawyer 1997

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