The arena of the professional body: Sport, autonomy and ambition in professional service firms

Jana Costas, Blagoy Blagoev, Lars Karreman

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This paper explores the interplay of sport, the professional body and the self in professional service firms. We draw on qualitative data collected at two large international management consulting firms to show how individuals use sport to construct and enact themselves as autonomous and ambitious professionals, as well as to escape from frustrations arising in their everyday work life. We develop how this turn to sport can be viewed as an attempt to deal with the conflicting discourses of autonomy and ambition prevalent in professional service firms. In so doing, the paper seeks to contribute to a more nuanced understanding of the significance of the professional body for understanding the management and control regimes of professional service firms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-19
Number of pages10
JournalScandinavian Journal of Management
Issue number1
Early online date10 Dec 2015
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016

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