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  • 2016allanphd

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Financialisation of the professional services firm: strategy, governance and the lived experience of partners

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

Publication date2016
Number of pages302
Awarding Institution
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This thesis aims to understand the effects of “financialisation” on the strategy and governance of the contemporary UK professional services firm (PSF) and the lived experience of its partners. The study is placed in the context of change, externally in the regulation and competitive environment of PSFs, and internally in terms of the commercialisation of the PSF and the adoption of financial logics. In an ethnographic case study undertaken within a cultural economy perspective this thesis reveals firstly how PSF strategy has been financialised. Secondly, it identifies how an ecology of strategic and tactical measures are put to use in support of the firm’s strategy, exemplifying the role of accounting as the agent of financialisation and as the enabler of financial governance. Thirdly, complementing accounting, HRM technologies are shown to be employed to make partners and potential partners known, calculable, comparable and governable. Working together, accounting and HRM technologies create an ecology of power which offers partners a subjectivity privileging and supporting the financialised strategy of the PSF, and rendering each partner a tool of strategy implementation and thereby financialisation. Fourthly, this thesis investigates the lived experience of partners in the financialised PSF revealing fears, anxieties, tensions and contradictions.