Knowledge Intensive Business Services

Knowledge Intensive Business Services

Organizational Forms and National Institutions

Edited by Marcela Miozzo and Damian Grimshaw

This book focuses on the development of Knowledge Intensive Business Services (KIBS) and the associated market characteristics and organisational forms. It brings together reputed scholars from a mix of disciplines to explore the nature and evolution of a range of Knowledge Intensive Business Services. Through an examination of KIBS sectors such as computer services, management consultancy and R & D services, the contributions in this book argue that the evolution of KIBS is strongly associated with new inter-organizational forms and that different country institutions shape the characteristics of these organisational forms.

Chapter 9: The Globalization of Management Consultancy Firms: Constraints and Limitations

Glenn Morgan, Andrew Sturdy and Sigrid Quack

Subjects: business and management, knowledge management, economics and finance, services, innovation and technology, knowledge management


9. The globalization of management consultancy firms: constraints and limitations Glenn Morgan, Andrew Sturdy and Sigrid Quack INTRODUCTION This chapter is aimed at providing a framework for the analysis of organizational structures and processes in the global management consulting industry. Our basic question is, why do global consulting firms exist? What distinctive advantages (if any) are they able to bring to their clients and the consulting task which cannot be achieved by ‘national’ firms? Consideration of this question leads us into alternative modes of internationalization in this sector. Economists in the field of international business have long posed this question in relation to manufacturing firms (see for example Dunning 1993). However, their answers tend to be limited to economic considerations and ignore the ways in which issues of organizational structure, power and processes impact on the internationalizing strategies of firms. More recently other authors have posed the same question specifically in relation to professional services firms (Aharonhi 2000; Lowendahl 2000; Nachum 2000; Roberts 1998, 1999, 2004). These authors have argued that there are specific characteristics of professional services that require an adaptation of the dominant models of internationalization. These relate to the distinctive interface between clients and suppliers in these contexts where co-presence and interaction is typically essential. This interaction in conditions where knowledge is ambiguous and/or clients may be less ‘knowledgeable’ than the professionals about the nature and quality of the services delivered has tended also to lead to national regulatory regimes controlling how some professional services...

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