Entrepreneurship and professional service firms: The team, the firm, the ecosystem and the field

Publikation: Beiträge in SammelwerkenAufsätze in SammelwerkenForschungbegutachtet


Although professional services have been among the fastest growing sectors in the past decades and described as ‘innovative by their nature’ (Hargadon and Bechky 2006; Nikolova 2012), research on entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial renewal in professional service firms has been rather limited (see, for example, Reihlen and Werr 2012, 2015). Previous research on professional service firms indicates that these represent a unique and complex context for entrepreneurial activity. First, the motivational disposition of the professional, with its focus on interesting tasks and learning opportunities (Alvesson 2004; Løwendahl 2005), creates a fertile ground for continuous learning, innovation and individual entrepreneurial initiatives (Heusinkveld and Benders 2002). At the same time, however, professionals’ strong preference for autonomy counteract the dissemination and institutionalisation of such innovations as professionals may be reluctant to adhere to corporate ‘best practices’ developed based on such innovations. Second, the locus for innovation in professional service firms is typically the ongoing service delivery in interaction with colleagues and clients rather than a dedicated research and development function (Fosstenlókken, Lówendahl and Revang 2003; Heusinkveld and Benders 2002; Skjólsvik et al. 2007). Solving clients’ unique problems in inter-organisational and often crossfunctional teams represents opportunities for innovation that are, however, not always easy to realise. Third, the relationship-based nature of professional service markets both enables and restricts the creation and exploitation of entrepreneurial opportunities. Many entrepreneurial initiatives have been enabled by close client relationships. At the same time professional service firms’ embeddedness in current networks, and the costs associated with extending these networks, represent an effective barrier to entrepreneurial initiatives beyond established networks (Glückler and Armbrüster 2003; Hanlon 2004).

TitelProfessions and Professional Service Firms : Private and Public Sector Enterprises in the Global Economy
HerausgeberMike Saks, Daniel Muzio
Anzahl der Seiten24
VerlagRoutledge Taylor & Francis Group
ISBN (Print)9781138675957
ISBN (elektronisch)9781317197898
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 01.01.2018