Accessibility navigation

Factors affecting the ability of Client Relationship Partners to influence peers when leading key client relationships in City law firms

Bott, G. (2021) Factors affecting the ability of Client Relationship Partners to influence peers when leading key client relationships in City law firms. DBA thesis, Henley Business School, University of Reading

Text (Redacted) - Thesis
· Please see our End User Agreement before downloading.

[img] Text - Thesis
· Restricted to Repository staff only

[img] Text - Thesis Deposit Form
· Restricted to Repository staff only


It is advisable to refer to the publisher's version if you intend to cite from this work. See Guidance on citing.

To link to this item DOI: 10.48683/1926.00103386


City law firms are responding to commercial pressures by attempting to establish a competitive advantage through the effective management of their key client relationships. This places great emphasis on the leadership role performed by the Client Relationship Partners who lead these often complex, boundary spanning relationships; acting as an interface between internal and external facing activity. In this context, there is specific interest in alignment at the peer level (partner to partner influence) where conventional hierarchical relationships between leaders and followers are replaced in law firms by more ambiguous relationships among professionals. Extant literature suggests that alignment at the peer level can be problematic as partners place a high value on autonomy, eschew interference by management and often operate in a culture that appears to actively reward individualistic behaviour. How a Client Relationship Partner operates effectively in this environment to influence the activities of peers is unexplored by academe. This study aims to address this gap by identifying what factors affect the ability of a Client Relationship Partners to influence the activities of peers. The study reviews the extant literature on law firm structures, systems and culture before considering the fields of key account management, leadership and paradox theory. The characteristics of City law firms therefore provides the critical context for this research; key account management the core theory; and leadership and paradox theory the theoretical lenses. Having positioned the research in the literature, justification is given for why the study adopts a qualitative research design that inductively builds and extends theory from the data. A case is made for an interpretivist research paradigm with a phenomenological research methodology. Careful consideration is given to the specific research methods and the data analysis techniques employed to ensure methodological congruence. The study adheres to the fundamental principles of doctoral research by making a contribution both to theory and practice. Contribution to theory includes the introduction of a Client Relationship Partner centred model that, in addition to providing consilience between the literature, helps both to surface and attend to the tensions that enable or hinder Client Relationship Partners in their efforts to influence the activities of peers. Contribution to practice includes the identification of eight paradox-based principles that provide much needed guidance to Client Relationship Partners and positional leaders in City law firms that are looking to address the research aim that frames this study.

Item Type:Thesis (DBA)
Thesis Supervisor:Dulewicz, V. and Vogel, B.
Thesis/Report Department:Henley Business School
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Henley Business School > Leadership, Organisations and Behaviour
ID Code:103386
Date on Title Page:August 2020


Downloads per month over past year

University Staff: Request a correction | Centaur Editors: Update this record

Page navigation