Managing the Knowledge-Intensive Firm
Routledge – 2011 – 200 pages
Over the last decade, there has been a substantial rise in the number of knowledge-intensive firms - constituted primarily of professionals. The core assets of these businesses are the people themselves. Handle them badly, and they may defect or stall. Successful managers of knowledge-intensive firms must create meaning among and inspire their employees, to ensure high performance. To achieve this, leaders must understand how to target each employee’s ambitions and challenges to facilitate their personal and professional development.
This book examines what sets knowledge-intensive firms apart from other types of organizations, and the resultant organizational and strategic differences in business models, talent management, and client-handling approaches. The authors bring their own complementary perspectives on the subject: one, as the manager of a private consulting firm with a strong research background; another, as a business school professor whose practice-based skills are fundamental to his work; and a third, a world leading commentator on professional service firms acting as a consultant, business school researcher and a manager.
Ejler, Poulfelt and Czerniawska present a new model for transforming the management of knowledge-intensive firms, which is supported throughout with practical examples and cases.
'Provides a useful summary in the area of knowledge-intensive firms. It applies the theory to practice for researchers'
Sajjad M. Jasimuddin, Aberystwyth University, UK
'Knowledge-intensive businesses represent perhaps the most attractive segment for many companies from the developed world to focus on. This book makes a significant contribution to how to make knowledge-intensive firms successful. Above all, the focus on innovations and entrepreneurship in such firms is key. This book represents a must read to all leaders who are taking their final steps from product-focus to knowledge-intensity.'
Peter Lorange, President, Lorange Institute of Business Zurich
'This book is an important book for those involved in the leadership of knowledge-intensive firms. It provides new insights about such leaders, while building constructively on earlier books about such firms.'
Jay W. Lorsch, Harvard Business School, USA
'In a strong and systematic way the authors present a refreshing approach to the challenges and conditions for managing knowledge-intensive organizations based on highly skilled professionals. They have clear suggestions for a new paradigm for managing these organizations whether private, public or third sector.'
Claes Nilas, Permanent Secretary, Danish Ministry of Refugee, Integration and Immigration Affairs
'Managing knowledge-intensive firms fills an important gap since it concentrates on an important theme that is still relatively neglected – how to run a firm successfully. Everyone with leadership responsibility in our sector will find useful lessons here.'
Alan Leaman, Chief Executive, Management Consultancies Association
Introduction 1. Value Creation in Knowledge-Intensive Firms 2. What Do Clients Buy? 3. The Inner Workings of Knowledge-Intensive Firms 4. Consistent Strategy and the Client 5. Employee Capital 6. Shaping Behaviour: Values and Cultural Modelling 7. Relations with Clients Rules Strategy Execution 8. Holistic Management: The Pyramid at Play 9. Epilogue
Nicolaj Ejler is Director at Rambøll Management Consulting, Denmark
Flemming Poulfelt is Professor of Management & Strategy and Vice Dean at Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
Fiona Czerniawska is Joint Managing Director and co-founder of Source Information Services Ltd, UK