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date: 22 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines individuals’ career-making in professional service firms. Using Kanter’s (1989) typology of bureaucratic, professional, and entrepreneurial career forms, it argues that within PSFs are elements of all three, sometimes working in parallel and sometimes in competition. After a broad overview of Kanter’s ideal types as manifest within the PSF, the chapter considers how these are institutionalized through particular career practices. It highlights the importance of the client in professional career-making, working either as a mechanism of social closure, or of transformation. The chapter then turns to career enactment: the ways in which individuals engage with professional, bureaucratic, and entrepreneurial practices on a daily basis and over time. Central to this analysis is the tension between the professional career as a vehicle for the exercise of personal agency, or as a disciplinary mechanism of management control. The concluding discussion proposes some fruitful for further research.

Keywords: career forms, career practices, agency, managerial control, client

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