PSF 2016


Oxford Professional Service Firms Conference, Oxford, UK, 10-12 Jul 2016; Deadline 14 Feb

Saïd Business School, Oxford, UK

Professional Service Firms and Globalisation

Call for Papers

The theme for the 2016 Oxford PSF conference is globalisation. While many professional service firms have pursued the internationalisation of their operations in recent years, they remain much less globalised than organisations in other sectors. And, while scholarly work on this topic has grown, numerous research areas are still opening up or expanding. We would like to encourage submissions that reflect the wide range of topics that the term globalisation encompasses.

Suggested topics include:

  1. What organisational models appear to be emerging among globalizing PSFs? Are there dominant or more common forms and if so what explains this? Or do we observe heterogeneity and what are the implications of this? In other words, some mapping of the organisational territory of the international PSF still seems appropriate.
  2. Linked to this, what organizational capabilities are effective for globalizing PSF? For example, what forms of integration are international PSFs using and with what effects? How, and how far, do firms with offices across multiple locations and operating in diverse cultures try to sustain internal coherence? How do these firms sustain consistent standards, for example in terms of service quality, branding and relationship management?
  3. How do firms with different international structures manage client relationships? For instance, the integrated ‘one-firm’ model has been justified as a means of providing seamless client service across multiple jurisdictions, but many other firms have adopted looser federal models or ‘best friend’ arrangements. Are the latter sufficient to meet client demands and if so, how does such integrated service production and delivery occur? How, at the same time, do firms cope with pressures to provide greater local variation, for example driven by stronger regulatory regimes?
  4. What are the ownership, governance and employment implications of internationalisation? For example, is the partnership form sustainable and if so, in what forms? How are ownership forms such as the LLP, widely adopted by law firms, reconciled with international reach?
  5. What are the implications of arbitrage opportunities across different national boundaries, particularly as firms seek outsourcing to achieve both low cost sourcing models and higher value service production?
  6. What are the cultural implications of the expansion of (mostly) western-owned or headquartered PSFs for employment and organisation models in developing economies? Conversely, what implications flow from the growth of non-western firms into other parts of the globe?

We welcome papers using a variety of methods including single-organisation or comparative case studies and surveys of the wider landscape. Studies that focus across different levels from the micro- to the macro- are also encouraged.

Timing and Venue

The conference will take place immediately following the EGOS conference in Naples, and will be held at Saïd Business School, Oxford.

The Journal of Professions and Organization

The conference will once again partner with the Journal of Professions and Organization (JPO), launched in 2013 by Oxford University Press to further research on professionals and their organizations. The PSF Hub at Oxford is sponsoring JPO’s 2015/16 Best Paper Award, and the winners will be recognized during a short ceremony at the Conference. JPO Editor-in-chief, David Brock (, will attend the conference to encourage potential submissions to the journal.

Additional Information

There is no fee for registration, accommodation, or meals for those who are invited to attend, but all delegates will be expected to cover their own travel costs. Further information will be made available to participants via the conference website in early 2016 once the decisions have been made ?

In the first instance, please send an abstract of up to 1200 words to

Deadline for submissions is 14th February 2016.

Tim Morris, Mari Sako and Michael Smets

The Professional Service Firm Hub
Saïd Business School,
University of Oxford