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From professionals to entrepreneurs

Human resources practices as an enabler for fostering corporate entrepreneurship in professional service firms
: Kühn, Christopher; Eymann, Torsten; Urbach, Nils; Schweizer, Andre


German journal of human resource management 30 (2016), Nr.2, S.125-154
ISSN: 2397-0022
ISSN: 2397-0030
Fraunhofer FIT ()
Corporate Entrepreneurship; Entrepreneurial Professionals; HRM; Intrapreneurship; Professional Service Firms

Professional Service Firms (PSFs) such as accounting, consulting, law, engineering or advertising firms increasingly face changing attitudes and fluctuation among young people with high potential who question traditional career and human resource (HR) concepts. In this context, it seems vital to foster a spirit of corporate entrepreneurship in PSFs to create an attractive environment that satisfies the autonomy-striving professionals. Our research is based on a multiple case study design that investigates how corporate entrepreneurship in the fields of elite accounting/consulting and law firms can be enabled by HR practices. Specifically, we analyse how contemporary PSFs manage to identify, select, build, reward, retain and let go of entrepreneurial professionals. Our findings imply that there are still challenges to overcome in the identification, selection and reward practices, while promising approaches for training and retention exist in order for entrepreneurial behaviour to prosper. Based on these findings, we present HR-related recommendations for fostering corporate entrepreneurship in PSFs and highlight some promising avenues for future research.