How Organizations Communicate Expertise Without Experts: Practices and Performances of Knowledge-Intensive Firms

Jeffrey W. Treem*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations

Abstract

This work examines how knowledge-intensive firms that lack strong ties to professional groups, or exclusive jurisdiction in a technical domain, communicate organizational expertise. A practice-based view of organizational expertise is used to examine how workers accomplish expertise through recurrent practices, and the processes through which that expertise becomes performed to clients as organizational expertise. Drawing on fieldwork conducted at two public relations firms, analysis indicates the organizations performed expertise by using representations that demonstrated they provided valuable services that would be difficult for clients to otherwise obtain. Furthermore, the findings reveal how local practices used by workers to produce the representations inside the organizations were obscured to clients to facilitate performances of expertise at the organizational level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)503-531
Number of pages29
JournalManagement Communication Quarterly
Volume30
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016

Keywords

  • expertise
  • knowledge
  • knowledge-intensive firms
  • practice theory
  • representations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Strategy and Management

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