Organizational professionalism in globalizing law firms

James Faulconbridge*, Daniel Muzio

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Are the challenges of globalization, technology and competition exercising a dramatic impact on professional practice while, in the process, compromising traditional notions of professionalism, autonomy and discretion? This article engages with these debates and uses original, qualitative empirical data to highlight the vast areas of continuity that exist even in the largest globalizing law firms. While it is undoubted that growth in the size of firms and their globalization bring new challenges, these are resolved in ways that are sensitive to professional values and interests. In particular, a commitment to professional autonomy and discretion still characterizes the way in which these firms operate and organize themselves. This situation is explained in terms of the development of an organizational model of professionalism, whereby the large organization is increasingly emerging as a primary locus of professionalization and whereby professional priorities and objectives are increasingly supported by organizational logics, systems and initiatives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-25
Number of pages19
JournalWork, Employment and Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008


  • Globalization
  • Legal profession
  • Organizational professionalism
  • Professional autonomy
  • Professional services firms

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