The Strategic Positioning of Professional Service Firm Start-Ups: Balance Beguiles but Purism Pays

Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Vol. 24, pp. 45-67, 2006

University of Alberta School of Business Research Paper No. 2013-508

Posted: 5 Jun 2013

See all articles by Jennifer Jennings

Jennifer Jennings

University of Alberta - Department of Strategic Management and Organization

P. Devereaux Jennings

University of Alberta - Department of Strategic Management and Organization

Royston Greenwood

University of Alberta - Department of Strategic Management and Organization

Date Written: Dec 1, 2005

Abstract

How do new professional service firms strategically position themselves in fields where developing a favourable external reputation is critical to performance? Are certain positioning strategies more effective than others? This study reveals that most professional service firm start-ups attempt to establish themselves by pursuing a strategy of moderate divergence from a field's institutionalized practices. Those that do so, however, do not perform as well as those that either conform more closely to these institutional prescriptions or depart more radically from them. In other words, balance beguiles but purism pays.

Suggested Citation

Jennings, Jennifer and Jennings, P. Devereaux and Greenwood, Royston, The Strategic Positioning of Professional Service Firm Start-Ups: Balance Beguiles but Purism Pays (Dec 1, 2005). Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Vol. 24, pp. 45-67, 2006; University of Alberta School of Business Research Paper No. 2013-508. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2274370

Jennifer Jennings (Contact Author)

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

Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2R6
Canada

P. Devereaux Jennings

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

Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2R6
Canada

Royston Greenwood

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

Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2R6
Canada

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