Organizational identity in management consulting firms: Professional partnerships and managed professional businesses compared

Research output: Contributions to collected editions/worksChapterpeer-review


A key resource of professional service firms (PSFs) is their organizational identity (OI). It enables PSFs to develop a positive external reputation and strong member identification. While the significance and effects of OI in PSFs are thoroughly studied, the differences between the two archetypes of PSFs, professional partnerships (P2) and managed professional businesses (MPB), are less clear. Through a multiple qualitative case study with four management consulting firms, it was revealed that both similarities and differences exist. Although notions of elitism were observed in all cases, P2s depict a deeper elite status, which is further fostered through their organic growth strategy. While MPBs, in pursuing a more aggressive approach to growth, depict ideographic identities and tendencies toward environmental adaptation. Thus, OI construction both shapes and is shaped by growth strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOrganizational Identity and Firm Growth : Properties of Growth, Contextual Identities and Micro-Level Processes
EditorsChristoph Dörrenbächer, Matthias Tomenendal, Sarah Stanske
Number of pages43
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Publication date01.01.2016
ISBN (Print)9781137577238
ISBN (Electronic)9781137577245
Publication statusPublished - 01.01.2016
Externally publishedYes

    Research areas

  • Managed professional businesses, Management consulting, Organizational identity, Professional partnerships, Professional service firms
  • Management studies