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Managing the transnational law firm: a relational analysis of professional systems, embedded actors and time-space sensitive governance.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>04/2008
<mark>Journal</mark>Economic Geography
Issue number2
Number of pages26
Pages (from-to)185-210
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This article argues that the relational approach can be particularly effective for addressing debates about the varieties of capitalism and the dynamics of institutional contexts. Using the case study of transnational law firms and data gathered through interviews with partners in London and New York, it makes two arguments. First, it suggests that the relational approach’s focus on the behavior of key agents when new or different work practices are encountered helps explain the management of institutional heterogeneity by transnational corporations (TNCs). Such an approach reveals the peculiarities of professionals and professional service managers and how they affect the response of globalizing law firms when home- and host-country business practices diverge. Second, the article shows how relational approaches can help disaggregate descriptions of national institutional systems to reveal the importance of studying their constitutive practices. Understanding these microlevel variations, which is missed by macrolevel categories like Anglo-American, is essential for explaining how firms cope with institutional heterogeneity. The author therefore argues that a better understanding of the effects of TNCs on national business systems can be facilitated by further developing the actor- and practice-focused analyses promoted by relational approaches.