Knowledge-Based Innovation: Emergence and Embedding of New Practice Areas in Management Consulting Firms

Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 50, No. 2, pp. 406-428, 2007.

23 Pages Posted: 23 Nov 2011 Last revised: 8 Apr 2013

See all articles by Heidi K. Gardner

Heidi K. Gardner

Harvard Law School

N. Anand

Imperial College London

Timothy Morris

University of Oxford - Said Business School; University of Oxford - Said Business School

Date Written: April 1, 2007

Abstract

How do innovative knowledge-based structures emerge and become embedded in organizations? We drew on theories of knowledge-intensive firms, communities of practice, and professional service firms to analyze multiple cases of new practice area creation in management consulting firms. Our qualitative analysis identified four critical generative elements: socialized agency, differentiated expertise, defensible turf, and organizational support. We demonstrate that these elements must be combined in specific pathways for knowledge-based innovative structures to emerge and embed. These pathways emerge from practitioner networks, markets for knowledge-based services, and professional firms' hierarchies. Our findings have important implications for studying innovation in the knowledge-based economy.

Suggested Citation

Gardner, Heidi K. and Anand, N. and Morris, Timothy, Knowledge-Based Innovation: Emergence and Embedding of New Practice Areas in Management Consulting Firms (April 1, 2007). Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 50, No. 2, pp. 406-428, 2007.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1962887

Heidi K. Gardner (Contact Author)

Harvard Law School ( email )

1563 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

N. Anand

Imperial College London ( email )

South Kensington Campus
Exhibition Road
London, Greater London SW7 2AZ
United Kingdom

Timothy Morris

University of Oxford - Said Business School

Park End Street
Oxford, OX1 1HP
Great Britain

University of Oxford - Said Business School

Park End Street
Oxford, OX1 1HP
Great Britain

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