Archetype Change in Professional Organizations: Survey Evidence from Large Law Firms

Morris, Tim and Pinnington, Ashly (2003) Archetype Change in Professional Organizations: Survey Evidence from Large Law Firms. British Journal of Management, 14 (1). pp. 85-99.


This paper examines the proposition that the traditional archetype of the professional partnership is said to have changed into a more ‘business-like’ entity, the managed professional business. It broadens the restricted case sample base on which much of the evidence has been adduced, by developing a survey questionnaire through which 197 large British law firms were sampled. Change, consistent with the notion of a more commercially oriented and consciously managed organization, is concentrated in the market-facing area of the firm but coexists with areas of continuity in the governance of the firm and its strategic management. The findings reveal a more managerial form of organization in which the core elements of the traditional form of professional organization have not been transformed. These results contest the assertion of either transformational or sedimented change found in other, case-based research and suggest that archetype change needs theoretically to be distinguished from the general phenomenon of greater managerialism within the professional service firm.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: professional corporations
Subject(s): Professional services
Corporate reputation
Centre: Centre for Professional Firms
Oxford University Centre for Corporate Reputation
Date Deposited: 02 Nov 2011 13:45
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2015 14:05

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