Professionalization, legitimization and the creation of executive search markets in Europe

Jonathan V. Beaverstock*, James R. Faulconbridge, Sarah J. E. Hall

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


There is a longstanding interest in the 'production of markets' and the various political- and cultural-economic strategies associated with demand-creation. This article shows how the professions, because of their central role in contemporary economy, provide an example of both the political- and cultural-economic production of international markets. Drawing on interviews conducted in the European executive search industry, we examine how firms and professional associations have combined cultural- and political-economic strategies of professionalization to legitimize the internationalization of the industry. We show how the success of these approaches is determined by the degree to which geographical variability exists in the use of cultural- and political-economic market production and legitimation tactics. We suggest that there is scope to bring work on the sociology of the professions into closer dialogue with work on the internationalization of professional services in ways that can be beneficial for wider debates about the 'production of markets'.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)825-843
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Economic Geography
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010

Structured keywords

  • MGMT Strategy International Management and Business and Entrepreneurship


  • professions
  • professionalism
  • professional service firms
  • internationalization
  • headhunting
  • Europe
  • F23
  • L22
  • L84
  • M16
  • WORK


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