Changing professional service archetypes in a law firm using Process Orientated Holonic (PrOH) Modelling

Ben Clegg*, Krishna Balthu, Glyn Morris

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper gives an in depth action research case study on how organisational change has been implemented in a medium-sized law firm in the UK (Higgs & Sons). The Canonical Action Research process was followed and a specific novel type of Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) known as Process Oriented Holonic (PrOH) Modelling was used to define systemic problems, support knowledge-based decision-making and implement change. This study found that as a result of increased competition, Higgs & Sons successfully transformed some of its services from a “professional partnership (P2)” delivery style towards having greater “managed professional business” (MPB) characteristics, but found that not all of its services were suited to this change, and that different types of service styles were necessary on a service by service basis. Practical changes and implications are discussed in the context of Pinnington and Morris’ (2003) “professional partnership” (P2) and “managed professional business” (MPB) archetype template.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-52
Number of pages15
JournalKnowledge Management Research and Practice
Issue number1
Early online date4 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Knowledge Management Research & Practice on 4 Feb 2019, available online at:


  • action research
  • innovation
  • knowledge management
  • Professional services
  • small-to-medium sized enterprise (SME)
  • soft systems methodology


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