Pick Your Battles: OPC or PPC? The Adverse Consequences of Bureaucratization

62 Pages Posted: 14 Jan 2012

See all articles by Claudine Mangen

Claudine Mangen

Concordia University, Montreal - John Molson School of Business

Marion Brivot

Université Laval

Date Written: January 13, 2012


Recent research suggests that most professionals are happy to comply with bureaucratic and commercial constraints: the long-standing organizational-professional conflict (OPC) seems to have vanished. Suddaby, Gendron and Lam (2009) propose a tentative explanation for this evolution: professionals socialized in a bureaucratic setting no longer perceive a conflict between professional and bureaucratic/commercial logics. In this paper, we assess and enrich this explanation via a case study in a French business tax law firm. We find empirical support for Suddaby et al.’s (2009) explanation: when our case firm bureaucratized its work processes, its lawyers were more likely to experience an OPC if their early socialization occurred in a professional rather than a bureaucratic environment. Lawyers who do not experience an OPC appear to struggle with a novel, professional-professional, conflict (PPC): they report resentment towards colleagues who, within their profession, operate in a different field of expertise. Our study thus suggests that professionals who, because of their early bureaucratic socialization, do not feel an OPC grapple instead with a PPC.

Keywords: Professional service firms, organizational-professional conflict (OPC), professional professional conflict (PPC), organizational socialization, bureaucratization, commercialization, law firms, accounting firms

JEL Classification: M54, M51, M40

Suggested Citation

Mangen, Claudine and Brivot, Marion, Pick Your Battles: OPC or PPC? The Adverse Consequences of Bureaucratization (January 13, 2012). CAAA Annual Conference 2012, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1984958 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1984958

Claudine Mangen (Contact Author)

Concordia University, Montreal - John Molson School of Business ( email )

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Montreal, Quebec H3H 0A1
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HOME PAGE: http://claudinemangen.com/

Marion Brivot

Université Laval ( email )

2325, rue de la Terrasse
Quebec, Quebec G1V0A6
4186562131(ext. 3199) (Phone)

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