Edited by Markus Reihlen and Andreas Werr
Chapter 9: Leadership in entrepreneurial professional service firms
A group of undergraduate students were sitting in the cafeteria talking about future career possibilities, and their conversation revolved around salary levels, traveling and expected working load. One of the students named a particular professional service firm that to him seemed to be the perfect employer. He had just handed in a job application to the company and was eager to hear back from them. He explained to his friends that the company was an excellent employer, since it was generous concerning parental leave and other benefits, profitable and professional, and provided exciting career possibilities. He continued and explained that the company was “sort of young”, a comment that seemed odd, since the company has been around for more than a century. The student backed his claim of the company’s youthfulness by proclaiming that there had been great transformations taking place since the new managing director took on the position some months back. Yet he gave no examples of what the new managing director had done. Later in the conversation, it turned out that the student’s personal encounters with the company were close to non-existent. He knew nobody who presently worked or had ever worked there. His knowledge of the company came from casually following the business news, reading about the company and its managing director occasionally and hearing from others that the company was a great place to work. It turned out that he did not know the names of any other executives working there. His positive view seemed to be shaped primarily by hearsay and the image of the new managing director.
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