Towards an organizational theory of occupational expansion : an ethnography of sales in design consulting
- This study examines how a professional service firm intentionally wins aspirational projects at the edge of the constituent occupation's typical domain of work, thereby expanding the occupation's social mandate. This approach to studying occupational expansion contrasts with most prior organizational scholarship which has typically focused on how, within integrated organizations, different occupations undercut each other and conflict with norms of bureaucratic administration. Drawing on an ethnography of salespeople and design practitioners at two design consultancies, I detail the challenges and tactics uniquely attendant on accomplishing occupational mandate expansion as a firm dedicated to that goal. The findings suggest that accounts of firm-based occupational expansion will likely depend on understanding three kinds of dynamics as they play out through cycles of new business acquisition: (1) maintaining fidelity of occupational representation across a distribution of business acquisition labor; (2) conducting search for aspirational projects in an unanalyzable client environment; and (3) managing organizational knowledge in such a way that the firm can regularly improvise ad hoc models of occupational expertise that map to a prospective client's situation.
|Type of resource
|electronic; electronic resource; remote
|1 online resource.
|Lyon, Joachim Bendix
|Stanford University, Department of Management Science and Engineering.
|Barley, Stephen R
|Barley, Stephen R
|Statement of responsibility
|Joachim Bendix Lyon.
|Submitted to the Department of Management Science and Engineering.
|Thesis (Ph.D.)--Stanford University, 2016.
- © 2016 by Joachim Bendix Lyon
- This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC).
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