Hub News and Events


Conference subtheme: Management occupations: Exploring boundaries and knowledge flows

4-6 July 2013

Together with professor Andrew Sturdy and professor Andreas Werr, dr. Stefan Heusinkveld will organize a Sub-theme at EGOS, a leading conference on organization studies. The current theme aims to direct attention towards the significance of a context of multiple occupations involved in shaping management and organizations, as well as of the often shifting and contested boundaries between them. The sub-theme aims to bring together and build bridges between scholars with an interest in specific management functions and occupations (e.g. Consulting, HR, IT, Accounting, Law, etc.), scholars interested in organizational change and development and scholars interested in the development and diffusion of management knowledge and innovations.

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New research on “Purchasing professional services and tendering processes” accepted for presentation at the annual conference on Professional Service Firms in Oxford

27-29 June 2013

Dr. Yvette Taminiau in collaboration with dr. Stefan Heusinkveld and Britt de Roos MA, examined the way accounting professionals enact their role in tendering processes. This is of particular relevance given that the accounting profession is coming under increasing pressures. Because of legal requirements, large clients avail themselves more often of a tendering process, that is, a structured assessment method for the procurement of professional services. Based on analyses of 75 client evaluations of one of the Big 4 accountancy firms that were supplemented by interviews with accountants on a partner level this study develops a theoretical model of professional role enactment that identifies different formal and informal practices in each phase of the tendering process that may contribute to convincing potential clients of the value and quality of the professional knowledge and skills of the accountant. Unlike prior work, the study shows professionals are not only structurally determined by the relevant purchasing pressures, but emphasize their strategic agency by elucidating how professionals enact these expectations are enacted in different phases.

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New research on “Market orientation in professional service teams” accepted for presentation at the annual conference on Professional Service Firms in Oxford

27-29 June 2013

Dr. Meindert Flikkema in collaboration with professor Frank Kwakman and dr. Stefan Heusinkveld studied the role and impact of market orientation (MO) in professional service firms. This is a non-trivial issue given that it is crucial for PSFs to keep their expertise in tune with market demand, build and maintain their reputation, and enhance the performance of their services to their clientele. Using a sample of approximately 150 teams from various PSF industries, the study shows substantial intra-firm variation concerning MO. The analyses also show a strong relationship between MO and performance at the business team level. Moreover, the study sheds further light on the interaction between MO, innovation, and HRM capabilities, and the mediating role of providing customer value at the business team level. It concludes by arguing that capitalizing on MO requires innovation capabilities, because customer and market insights have to be translated into new, distinctive and valuable propositions, sometimes through processes of commoditizing services, but PSF teams also need HRM capabilities. Therefore retaining top performing employees should always be the primary focus of PSF managers, both from a service delivery perspective and an innovation perspective.

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Seminar by Professor Andrew Sturdy

5 March 2013

Professor Sturdy presented his recent research paper titled: “Management as consultancy? Neo-bureaucracy and the new manager as consultant”. The study identifies some important ways in which changes in managerial roles are occurring through consultancy, the rationales which lie behind such developments and some of the resulting tensions for those occupations engaged in the management of change. These are shown to reflect and reproduce, rather than resolve, some of the fundamental contradictions and dilemmas of management and organization. 

The VU PSF Hub hosted a Symposium on “Management consulting and management theory”

4 March 2013

Various experts from the Faculty presented their recent research work. Professor Andrew Sturdy and Professor Timothy Clark (former JMS editor) acted as reviewers.

New study on procurement of professional services published in Journal of Management Studies

24 February 2013

Using a qualitative multi-method study of the role of procurement in sourcing consultancy knowledge, dr. Joe O’Mahoney, dr. Stefan Heusinkveld and Professor Christopher Wright demonstrate how intermediaries also commodify management knowledge, thereby limiting the exchange value of that knowledge. They develop a more sophisticated model that clarifies and extends prior research by highlighting the role of commensuration, comparison and valuation, as well as the related tactics that consultants and client managers use to resist procurement's attempts to commodify management knowledge.

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New study on knowledge-based innovation in management consultancies published in Organization Studies

10 January 2013

How do new practice areas evolve beyond their creation and inception in professional service firms such as management consultancies? In their study, dr. Stefan Heusinkveld, professor Jos Benders and dr. Bas Hillebrand reveal how, once established, a new practice area is not perceived as a stable entity, but is be constantly re-defined to remain viable. Using data from 32 consultants employed at 14 different firms the study identifies seven response strategies that consultancies may deploy in relation to the conflicting pressures they are confronted with. We suggest that the variety of responses is essential to better understand the evolution of new practice areas.

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