Presentation Title

A Foot in Both Camps: Role Identity and Entrepreneurial Orientation in Professional Service Firms

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Abstract or Description

Professional service entrepreneurs (PSEs) practice their professions in highly institutionalized contexts which require significant socialization in professional institutions, while at the same time enacting their role as an entrepreneur. Paradoxically, some activities consistent with entrepreneurship may be unnecessary for—and possibly even contradictory with—activities consistent with professional roles. In this study, we address the questions of how two highly central role identities (professional and entrepreneurial) relate to entrepreneurial orientation (EO) in professional practice firms, and how EO influences performance in the context of professional practices. Using a sample of 139 physician PSEs, we examine the relationships between the role identity centrality of two roles (professional and entrepreneurial) that PSEs occupy, the EO of their firms, and firm performance. Findings indicate a significant and positive relationship between entrepreneurial role identity centrality and entrepreneurial orientation. Further, findings suggest that a highly central entrepreneurial role identity negatively moderates the relationship between a professional role identity and EO. Interestingly, no measure of financial or structural performance indicated a significant relationship between EO and performance in professional practice firms, a finding that is inconsistent with much of the research on EO and performance, and which indicates the need for further contextual research on the EO - performance relationship.


Academy of Management Annual Conference (AOM)


Philadelphia, PA