Organizing ecosystems for learning: How professional service firms seek knowledge beyond professional and organizational boundaries
Digitalization is causing incumbent firms to rethink their organizational forms, professional roles, and strategies to stay competitive. This development is particularly salient in professional service firms (PSF), as the professional knowledge and services they provide are challenged by new digital solutions and artificial intelligence (AI). To act on new opportunities and challenges, PSFs need to search for knowledge outside their domains of expertise and engage in ecosystems for learning. However, how this is organized in practice and how it affects their professional roles and boundaries is not well known. Following this, the project aims to explore how incumbent PSFs respond to digitalization by engaging in ecosystems for learning that reach beyond their organizational and professional boundaries. We do so by studying how incumbent PSFs in three different industries in Sweden create new ecosystems for learning. The project takes its starting point in a case study, based on action research, in a business law firm that is in the midst of creating a new ecosystem for developing new digital knowledge, outside the realm of their professional expertise. We then compare and contrast our findings by studying how PSFs within auditing and architecture shape new ecosystems for learning. The project contributes with new practical and theoretical knowledge by combining and building insights from the literature on digitalization in PSFs with research on boundary work.