Oxford Brookes Business School

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  • Aly Damani

    PhD: Competitive advantage within Professional Services Firms (PSFs)

    Business and Management

    Oxford Brookes Business School

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    Mode of StudyFull-Time
    SupervisorsChengbo Wang, Uma Urs
    Research AbstractIn the current global economy, large multinational Professional Services Firms (PSFs) are highly influential as they operate across international boundaries working on complex international transactions and providing expertise to the world’s largest corporations and governments (Greenwood et al., 2010). Despite operating across a number of countries, PSFs are able to maintain a degree of integration which allows them to mobilise resources, serve transnational clients and effectively dissipate knowledge across its network. 
     
    Due to their size, presence across the globe and continued success, PSFs have been acknowledged as important to the global economy. However, academic literature has not adequately addressed how their structural features and HRM practices contribute to their success (Boussebaa, 2009). Prior research has explored the structural characteristics and HRM practices within PSF (Bousebaa, 2009; Greenwood et al., 2010) and this study aims to extend this research and unravel how these characteristics drive competitive advantage.
     
    The study aims to answer how structural factors, authority sharing and human resource practice and polices within PSFs impact dynamic capabilities (as presented by Teece and Pisano, 1997) and contribute to competitive advantage. A qualitative framework will be employed to map the relationship between these factors, dynamic capabilities and competitive advantage.  This study proceeds in two stages. In the first stage, the research employs open-ended interviews and secondary research to breaks down the broader factors into sub-factors like knowledge sharing, learning and development practices, autonomy. It then evaluates how these sub-factors impact employee engagement, commitment, sharing of expertise and other competences. Secondary research and interviews with the HR department also help identify KPMG’s organisational capabilities and competences. In the second stage, primary research through questionnaires’ and semi-structured interviews are employed to examine the relationship between the factors under analysis and organisational competences and capabilities.