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Professional identities at stake in strategic change - on the formation of professional selves in changing PSFs

  • Sébastien Gand


    (CGS - Centre de Gestion Scientifique - MINES ParisTech - École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris)

  • Jean-Claude Sardas


    (CGS - Centre de Gestion Scientifique - MINES ParisTech - École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris)

  • Annika Schilling,

    (Stockholm School of Economics - Stockholm School of Economics)

  • Andreas Werr,

    (Stockholm School of Economics - Stockholm School of Economics)

Registered author(s):

    Professional Service Firms (PSFs) are increasingly pressured to strategic changes by evolutions in their environments. Research has especially emphasized changing client behaviours and demands, globalization and increasing competition. However, the internal dynamics of strategic change in PSFs remain under-investigated. The current paper focuses specifically on the role of professional identities in processes of strategic change, as identity has emerged as a key variable for understanding PSFs in recent research. The current paper introduces an analytical framework in four steps for understanding strategic change implementation and the role of professional identities. These steps comprise: 1. The nature of the strategic change; 2. Changes in organisational processes and in professional roles; 3. Identity moves by the professionals; 4. The outcomes of the strategic change process. The framework is applied to three different PSFs representing three typical strategic changes. Based on the analysis of the case studies we argue that the nexus of analyzing strategic change in PSFs lies in the intertwined processes of evolving organizational roles, practices and professional identities. The paper also spells out managerial implications for role design and effects for professionals in strategic changes.

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    Paper provided by HAL in its series Post-Print with number hal-00818098.

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    Date of creation: 02 Jul 2009
    Date of revision:
    Publication status: Published - Presented, EGOS, 2009, Barcelone, Spain
    Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-00818098
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    1. Grey, C., 1998. "On being a professional in a "Big Six" firm," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 23(5-6), pages 569-587.
    2. Empson, Laura, 2004. "Organizational identity change: managerial regulation and member identification in an accounting firm acquisition," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 29(8), pages 759-781, November.
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