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Career pathing and innovation capacity in professional service firms

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Title: Career pathing and innovation capacity in professional service firms
Authors: Malhotra, N
Smets, M
Morris, T
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: In this paper, we start a new conversation about how career paths affect innovation capacity in professional service firms (PSFs) that face escalating pressures from clients to deliver more ingenious solutions plus enhanced efficiency. Using top-tier law firms as an illustrative case, we demonstrate how career path changes, initially made to address these work-life balance concerns, had the virtuous side effect of enhancing innovation capacity. Our study fosters dialogue between PSF research and broader innovation theories, based on four contributions. First, we build much needed conceptual clarity about what innovation means and the forms it takes in the context of PSFs. Second, we show exploration and exploitation are not orthogonal, but connected and mutually reinforcing in PSFs. We conceptualize an Innovation Loop that captures the continuous morphing of one into the other. Third, we draw attention to the neglected role of career pathing as a determinant of innovation capacity by facilitating seamless transitions between exploration and exploitation. Finally, we demonstrate how changing career paths are not a ‘necessary evil’ but create win-win solutions to both accommodate work-life preferences of staff and enhance innovation capacity for the firm.
Issue Date: 6-Sep-2016
Date of Acceptance: 9-Aug-2016
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10044/1/40046
DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.5465/amp.2012.0108
ISSN: 1558-9080
Publisher: Academy of Management
Start Page: 369
End Page: 383
Journal / Book Title: Academy of Management Perspectives
Volume: 30
Issue: 4
Copyright Statement: © Academy of Management Perspectives
Keywords: Social Sciences
Business
Management
Business & Economics
MANAGEMENT CONSULTING FIRMS
ORGANIZATIONAL AMBIDEXTERITY
DYNAMIC CAPABILITY
LAW-FIRM
KNOWLEDGE
EXPLOITATION
EXPLORATION
STRATEGY
MODEL
ANTECEDENTS
1503 Business And Management
Business & Management
Publication Status: Published
Appears in Collections:Imperial College Business School