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date: 11 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Research on Professional Service Firms (PSFs) has tended to treat them as homogeneous and to assume there are similarities in how they are organized and managed. This assumption has been challenged recently as scholars have drawn attention to organizational differences stemming from sources of heterogeneity. The authors argue that rigorous theorizing about the organization and management of PSFs requires an understanding of sources of both homogeneity and heterogeneity and their specific implications. They synthesize insights from the sociology of professions literature and the economics and organization theory literatures to distil key sources of homogeneity and heterogeneity. They also identify firm-level characteristics that drive heterogeneity within a particular professional service. The authors propose an overarching framework of sources of homogeneity and heterogeneity that helps interpret the generalizability of existing research and has the potential to better inform future empirical research on PSFs.

Keywords: professional service firms, sociology of professions, organization theory, firm-level characteristics, organization, management

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