Knowledge-intensive firms : configuration or community?
McGrath, Paul G. (1999) Knowledge-intensive firms : configuration or community? PhD thesis, University of Warwick.
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Official URL: http://webcat.warwick.ac.uk/record=b1367933~S1
This thesis is a study into the nature of knowledge-intensive firm defined here as
professional service firms providing tailored services to corporate clients and relying heavily
on the problem solving capacity of their employees. This thesis attempts to strike a balance
between a straightforward and overtly empirical piece of work which presupposes the
meaning of knowledge work and an abstract contribution which questions, explores and
attempts to reframe our understanding of the prevailing concept of knowledge work and of
the knowledge-intensive firm. Three exceptionally successful contemporary firms are
studied as potential exemplars of this seemingly new organisational form. The cases are
examined from three overlapping and integrated perspectives. First, a structure and design
perspective is adopted. The existing literature on the structure and design of these firms is
examined and developed into an ideal type (Weber, 1978) which is subsequently used in the
interviewing of employees. A more processual/contextual/alternative perspective on
knowledge work is then adopted and combined with the related concept of community is
applied to the study of the three cases. Finally, drawing on the historical case of early Irish
monasticism, a premodern knowledge-intensive institutional form, the sense of the
interrelationship between structure and community is elaborated upon and, along with some
peculiarly monastic angles, applied to the three cases. The overall conclusion is that
contemporary KIFs represent "plural forms" (Jeffrey, 1991) in the sense that they use
different internal and external control mechanism simultaneously for the same function.
While the operations of these firms are complex and unusual, the claim of a new paradigm
of management underpinning these firms is rejected.
|Item Type:||Thesis or Dissertation (PhD)|
|Subjects:||H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor|
|Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH):||Knowledge workers, Professional corporations|
|Official Date:||September 1999|
|Institution:||University of Warwick|
|Theses Department:||Warwick Business School|
|Extent:||vi, 354 leaves|
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