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Professionalization, legitimization and the creation of executive search markets in Europe.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date11/2010
JournalJournal of Economic Geography
Journal number6
Volume10
Number of pages19
Pages825-843
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

There is widespread and longstanding interest in the ‘production of markets’ and the various political- and cultural-economic strategies associated with demand creation. The aim of this paper is to show how the professions, because of their central role in contemporary economic and social life, provide a particularly interesting example of both the political- and cultural-economic production of international markets. Drawing on interviews conducted in the European executive search (headhunting) industry, we examine how headhunting professional service firms and professional associations have combined cultural- and political-economic strategies of professionalism and professionalization to legitimize executive search as a business service in order to facilitate the internationalization of the industry.. In particular we show how the success of these approaches is determined by the degree to which geographical variability exists in the use of cultural- and political-economic market production and legitimation tactics. We, therefore, suggest that there is considerable scope to bring work on the sociology of the professions into closer dialogue with work on the internationalisation of professional service firms in ways that can be beneficial for both literatures as well as wider debates about the ‘production of markets’.