Introduction to the Journal of Organizational Behavior's Special Issue on Professional Service Firms: Where Organization Theory and Organizational Behavior Might Meet

8 Pages Posted: 19 May 2013

See all articles by Roy Suddaby

Roy Suddaby

Peter B Gustavson School of Business

Royston Greenwood

University of Alberta - Department of Strategic Management and Organization

Celeste Wilderom

University of Twente

Date Written: May 17, 2007

Abstract

The uniqueness of professional service firms (PSFs) has been well established. Accounting, law, engineering, and management consulting firms are known to differ significantly from both traditional manufacturing and service organizations in their organizational and managerial arrangements. Their performance depends heavily on the reputation and status of their workforce. They utilize unique employment practices and leadership behaviors, and typically have unusual structures. They are subject to exhortations from external professional bodies and are expected to balance pressures of commercial success with professional integrity (Scott, 1987; Greenwood et al., 2007). Many professional service firms are governed as partnerships, which, though not unique to these organizations, is highly unusual elsewhere and carries unusually high risks of litigation (Greenwood & Empson, 2003). These distinctive and differentiating features occur because of unique challenges that arise from the PSFs central focus upon intellectual capital and expert knowledge and the delivery of intangible, customized services through highly trained professionals (Alvesson, 1995; Reed, 1996b).

Suggested Citation

Suddaby, Roy Robert and Greenwood, Royston and Wilderom, Celeste, Introduction to the Journal of Organizational Behavior's Special Issue on Professional Service Firms: Where Organization Theory and Organizational Behavior Might Meet (May 17, 2007). University of Alberta School of Business Research Paper No. 2013-27, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2266573

Roy Robert Suddaby (Contact Author)

Peter B Gustavson School of Business ( email )

Victoria, British Columbia
Canada
250-721-6401 (Phone)

Royston Greenwood

University of Alberta - Department of Strategic Management and Organization ( email )

Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2R6
Canada

Celeste Wilderom

University of Twente ( email )

Postbus 217
Twente
Netherlands

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