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date: 24 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the foci, resources, and mechanisms of leadership in Professional Service Firms, a context where traditional conceptions of leadership and followership are problematic given the importance of individual autonomy to knowledge-based work. The authors argue that leadership in professional service firms is, above all, a process of interaction among professionals seeking to exercise influence at the individual, organizational, and strategic level. It is manifested explicitly through professional expertise, discretely through political interaction, and implicitly through personal embodiment. The authors suggest that these resources are rarely combined in single individuals, which gives rise to the prevalence of collective forms of leadership, supported by embedded mechanisms of social control that channel professional activity.

Keywords: leadership, collective leadership, political interaction, professional service firms, knowledge-based work, professionals, social control

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