Institutional Entrepreneurship: a literature review and analysis of the maturing consulting field

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29716 Institutional entrepreneurship: a literature review and analysis of the maturing consulting fi eld Michael Smets and Markus ReihlenINTRODUCTIONProfessional service fi rms (PSFs) such as management consultancies, investment banks, and accounting and law fi rms have gained positions of strong economic and social infl u-ence in today’s Western economies. The largest PSFs rival multinational corporations in turnover and employment, and many have extended their services beyond the business, politics, and nonprofi t sectors (Empson, 2007b; Greenwood, Suddaby, & McDougald, 2006). Management consultants have established themselves as “the world’s newest pro-fession” (McKenna, 2006) and “market protagonists” (Faust, 2002b: 45) in knowledge economies; elite law fi rms act as “sanctifi ers” of international business transactions whose infl uence in many instances supplants, rather than supplements, the role of the state (Flood, 2007), and investment banks are claiming to be doing no less than “God’s work” (Arlidge, 2009).This success is to some extent a product of economic trends towards increasing knowl-edge intensity, servitization, globalization, and rapid innovation—however, by no means exclusively. A considerable part of PSF success is due to professionals’ rhetorical and political skills actively to infl uence the institutional environment in which they operate. For instance, investment banks have shaped the “rules of the game” by embedding former regulators in their ranks or placing loyal employees in prominent political posi-tions who then reinforced the myth of the inevitable “innovation cycle” and legitimized the deregulation of fi nancial markets (Davis, 2009; Economist, 2007). Similarly, research on management fads and fashions has repeatedly recognized how management consult-ants strategically shape management discourse in a way that establishes their own prod-ucts and innovations as sources of commercial success (Abrahamson, 1991; Benders & van Veen, 2001; Berglund & Werr, 2000; Kieser, 1997; Suddaby & Greenwood, 2001).Specifi cally with regard to management consulting, however, these studies have focused on the isomorphic pressures that consultants’ eff orts exert on their clients’ indus-tries. With few exceptions (e.g. Fincham & Clark, 2002; Lounsbury, 2002, 2007; Montgomery & Oliver, 2007), we know little about how emerging professions, such as management consulting, professionalize and establish their services as a taken- for- granted element of social life. This is surprising given that professionals have long been recognized as “institutional agents” (DiMaggio & Powell, 1983; Scott, 2008) (see Chapter 17) and professionalization projects have been closely associated with institutionalization (DiMaggio, 1991).
TitelHandbook of research on Entrepreneurship in Professional Services
HerausgeberMarkus Reihlen, Andreas Werr
Anzahl der Seiten21
VerlagEdward Elgar Publishing
ISBN (Print)978 1 84844 626 7
ISBN (elektronisch)9781781009109
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 12.2012