Managing knowledge integration: Balancing professional and managerial logics in an engineering consulting firm
Journal article, 2015
Integrating professional expertise in professional service firms (PSFs) is a key strategic challenge in the contemporary economy and individual firms. Previous research has pointed out that the governance of key aspects of PSFs, including knowledge integration, is shifting from a professional to a managerial logic, a shift that is often pictured as conflict laden based on the incompatibility of the two logics. Based on a study of knowledge integration in an engineering consulting firm, the current paper shows how managerial and professional logics interplay in shaping knowledge integration practices. We identify both aspects in which the logics reinforce each other in enabling knowledge integration and tensions that threaten knowledge integration. We conclude that the professional logic is a key driver of knowledge integration, but that the managerial logic, including its formal HR practices, may support knowledge integration through secondary effects if applied in a thoughtful way.