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Professor James Faulconbridge


James Faulconbridge

Lancaster University

Charles Carter Building



Tel: +44 1524 510265

Research overview

My research focuses principally on the professions, professional service firms, and knowledge-intensive services. I have studied amongst others the accounting, advertising, architecture, executive search, and law professions. Theoretically, my work draws on perspectives from economic geography, organisation studies, and sociology, with institutional and practice perspectives from these disciplines being of particular significance in my work. In recent years, I have developed in particular three inter-related areas of research focus:


Globalization and professional service firms

I am interested in theories of globalization and the way these can be used to understand the globalization of professional service firms. Recent work has, in particular, taken an institutional approach to studying the activities and effects of global law firms. Key projects in this area include:

  • An ESRC funded project on the globalization executive search firms
  • A British Academy funded project on the globalization architecture firms
  • A Sloan foundation project on the work of global advertising agencies in US cities


Knowledge, learning, and innovation practices

My work uses theories of communities of practice as well as related theories of knowledge and learning to examine the practices and spaces of learning in different organisations and the institutional effects of learning processes. Relevant projects include:

  • An ESRC project on Artificial Intelligence in accounting and law professional service firms
  • A Research Councils Energy Programme funded project, as part of the DEMAND Centre, examining commercial office design practices and implications for energy demand
  • An ESRC funded project on professional training and education that analyses the local and global influences on education, training and learning in law firms
  • A British Council funded Exchange programme exploring the way knowledge and practice relating to sustainable building design travels



Work in this area focuses on the now central role of mobility in both day-to-day social life and in the reproduction of business practices. Drawing on and contributing to work on the ‘mobilities turn’ in the social sciences, as well as work on concepts of practice, recent projects include:

  • Research, funded by the Research Councils Energy Programme, examining the embeddedness of business travel in the work practices of engineering consultancy firms, as part of the DEMAND Centre
  • A Research Councils Energy Programme funded project focusing on mobility and the implications of disruptions to mobility for personal and business lives and for the carbon impacts of travel
  • A European Research Council funded network exploring ‘The Future of Business Mobilities’

PhD supervision

Please contact me to discuss possible topics for PhD research. I would be particularly interested in hearing from people with proposals relating to the professions and professional services, the globalisation of work and organisations, and business mobilities

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