Negotiating cultures of work in transnational law firms.

Faulconbridge, James R. (2008) Negotiating cultures of work in transnational law firms. Journal of Economic Geography, 8 (4). pp. 497-517. ISSN 1468-2710

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The geographical strategies of transnational corporations have received extensive attention from economic geographers. A particularly important line of study has focused upon the diverse national institutions that create geographically heterogeneous cultures of work. Yet none of these studies place questions about how global firms act as ‘cultural entrepreneurs’ at the centre of their analysis. This paper, therefore, uses the case of transnational law firms to extend theoretical debates about the geographies of learning and best practice through new micro-scale consideration of the way managers in TNCs act as cultural entrepreneurs, driving change in institutionalised cultures of work through strategies that alter the cognitive frames of workers. Drawing primarily on data from interviews, the paper reveals how the strategies used by influential partners in transnational law firms to drive changes in cultures of work do not lead to forms of global strong convergence in practice but converging divergences as cultures change in subtle, often unpredicted ways. It is argued that economic geographers need to pay more attention to the mechanisms of such changes in culture, and the processes of change in national business systems more widely, so as to contribute to debates about corporate culture but also the varieties of capitalism.

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Journal Article
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Journal of Economic Geography
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This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Journal of Economic Geography following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version Faulconbridge, James Negotiating cultures of work in transnational law firms. Journal of Economic Geography 2008 8 (4): 497-517 is available online at:
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13 Jun 2008 14:29
Last Modified:
30 Jan 2023 00:49