Heterogeneity in Professional Organizations

Morris, Tim and Malhotra, Namrata (2009) Heterogeneity in Professional Organizations. Journal of Management Studies, 46 (6). pp. 895-922.


Research on professional service firms emphasizes similarities in their organization and management and distinctiveness from other types of organization. In this paper we take a different tack and focus on the differences between professional service firms, that is, on heterogeneity across different professional sectors. We argue that differences between professions on a number of dimensions affect the nature of professionals' work and, in turn, the organization and management of firms across different professional sectors. Drawing on the sociology of professions literature we focus on three key dimensions of knowledge, jurisdictional control and client relationships to compare legal, auditing and engineering consulting firms. We consider how differences in these dimensions across the three professional services sectors impact upon the way firms are organized. We offer a number of propositions explicating how differences in the nature of knowledge, jurisdictional control and client relationships have implications for organizational form, team-working and pricing systems.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Organizational sociology; Organizational structure; Normative theory
Subject(s): Professional services
Corporate reputation
Centre: Centre for Professional Firms
Oxford University Centre for Corporate Reputation
Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2012 15:51
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2015 14:07
URI: http://eureka.sbs.ox.ac.uk/id/eprint/2648

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