Configurations and Performance of Professional Service Firms: The Role of Complementarities



Configurational approaches have been a popular perspective to describe organizational settings of firms and to provide explanations for performance differences. Empirical evidence, however, is not satisfying and casted doubts on the explanatory power of configurations which are driven by methodological and theoretical considerations. In this paper we attempt to base configurational descriptions on a sound theoretical rationale and, in addition, apply statistical techniques which aim to overcome the criticized weaknesses of previous approaches. We analyze a sample of US-based corporate law firms and model the relationships of organizational elements with the complementarity perspective. Our results indicate that our systemic approach is a promising way to analyze performance differences of firms based on strategic and structural elements. The explanatory power, however, critically depends on the choice of the "right" elements investigated.
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Dr. Taco H. Reus