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Partnership versus Corporation: Implications of Alternative Forms of Governance in Professional Service Firms

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-170
Number of pages32
JournalResearch in the Sociology of Organizations
DatePublished - 2006


For professional service firms (PSFs) the partnership form of governance is the most effective means of reconciling the potentially competing claims of three sets of stakeholders: shareholders, professionals, and clients. Increasingly, PSFs are abandoning this traditional form of governance in favour of incorporation and flotation. Very little is known about the implications of this trend. We examine an alliance between a partnership and a corporation and analyse the systems and structures that professionals in both firms deploy in their efforts to preserve and sustain the interpretive scheme of professionalism and partnership. We emphasise the need to develop a more nuanced understanding of the relationship between governance as a legal form and governance as an interpretive scheme.


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