Managing employees in Professional Service Organisations - Future of Work research centre - University of Bath - School of Management

Future of Work research centre

University of Bath School of Management

Managing employees in professional service organisations

Work from Research Centre in Professional Service Organisations has focused on the implications of new forms of organising.

Employee commitment in professional service organisations

Research team: Professor Juani Swart, Professor Nick Kinnie, Dr Yvonne van Rossenberg and Dr Zeynep Yalabik

Research into the commitment of employees in organisations is long established. However, changes in organisational structures are posing challenges to many well-established concepts and methodologies.

This is particularly the case in knowledge-rich professional services organisations where employees interact with multiple parties. This creates a situation where employees need to commit to not only their employer and their team, but also to their clients and possibly also their professional body.

This means there is the potential for both synergies and conflicts between these many parties (the 'foci of commitment').

We are studying the implications of people in professional service firms having many parties to interact with. Our particular focus is on

This work is based on a series of empirical case studies.

Managing and working in cross-boundary environments

Research team: Professor Juani Swart, Professor Nick Kinnie and David Cross

Many employees now work in what we might call a cross-boundary environment. This takes many forms but usually involves a break in the connection found in more traditional organisations between employment and management. For example employees may be formally employed by one organisation, say one which provides outsourcing services, but actually work for a client organisation alongside their staff. Alternatively they may be self-employed and work for a whole series of clients.

In these circumstances employees find themselves occupying a liminal space in the sense that they are ‘betwixt and between’ a series of parties with whom they interact. This presents many challenges for the employees themselves and those who seek to devise policies and practices to manage them.

We are researching these cross boundaries environments through a series of case studies of organisations and interviews with liminal workers. We have been seeking to understand the kinds of people management strategies which are most appropriate and how workers who occupy liminal positions seek to navigate their relations with the differing parties with whom they interact.