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date: 13 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter begins by examining the significance of Professional Service Firms (PSFs) in terms of their scale and significance from an economic and societal perspective, and the insights they offer for academic theory. The authors examine how PSFs have remained “in the shadows,” in terms of their visibility within the economy and within scholarly research, and how and why that situation is changing. The chapter discusses “what exactly is a Professional Service Firm?” and highlights four defining characteristics relating to: customization, knowledge, governance, and identity, which frame this definition. After presenting an overview of each of the twenty chapters in the Handbook, the authors conclude by proposing various key themes for future research and by developing an integrative framework for the analysis of PSFs.

Keywords: professional service firms, customization, knowledge, governance, identity

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