The changing professional organization: A review of competing archetypes

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The aim of this paper is to summarize literature relevant to the professional organization and to present a contemporary analysis of the archetype concept in this field. In order to understand recent and ongoing changes in professional organizations, the paper begins with a review of how the professional archetype evolved from the 1960s to 1990. Then, with examples from contemporary accounting, health care and law organizations, it considers the processes by which an institutionalized archetype can change. Forces for change - such as deregulation, competition, technology and globalization - can challenge the interpretive scheme and eventually delegitimize the existing archetype. At the same time, significant environmental changes can override isomorphic pressures and de-institutionalize the long-accepted structures. Thus we herald the emergence a new professional archetype - or perhaps several competing archetypes. Finally, the paper reviews the evolving field of professional organization as a whole, and understands the extant archetypes. A typology of professional organizations is proposed that currently seems to have three clusters of organizations - possibly three competing archetypes - namely, the traditional professional partnership, the specialized 'Star' form and the corporate global professional network, or GPN.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-174
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Management Reviews
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Decision Sciences
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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