Centre for Professional Service Firms

What we do

"The Centre for Professional Service Firms at Bayes Business School (formerly Cass) is dedicated to researching the professions, professional service firms, and the professionals who work within them."

  • A place where academics make a difference - the Centre conducts rigorous research that aims to change how academics and professionals analyse and understand professional service firms.
  • A place where professionals come to think - the Centre provides professionals with space and stimulus to explore the management challenges they face.
  • A place where academics and professionals collaborate - the Centre brings academics and professionals together to challenge each other and create new ideas.

What exactly is a professional service firm? Read this excerpt from “Researching Professional Service Firms: An Introduction and Overview” by Laura Empson, Daniel Muzio, Joseph P Broschak, and Bob Hinings, (2015).


The Professions’ Summit - Leading through uncertainty to clarity

Lecture theatre room full with attends of the professions' summit One hundred leaders of professional organisations and the academics who study them came together at Bayes Business School to discuss the complex interplay of issues currently facing the professions.

Alongside presentations from a remarkable line up of distinguished professionals and academics, the panel discussions gave rise to some intense and sometimes heated debate on the topics of: Technology and professional work; Leadership and professional people; Leadership and professional organisations; and Ethics and professional culture

Watch the brief Overview Video

Read the Summit Summary Report.

New podcast from Laura Empson and David Morley - Leading Professional People

Laura Empson and David MorleyCPSF Director Laura Empson joins visiting professor of practice David Morley in this new podcast series. Together they combine Empson's decades of academic research and Morley's years of first-hand experience leading a global law firm. Joined by leaders from some of the world’s most successful professional service firms, they explore the everyday realities of leadership.

Upcoming episodes will look at leadership in crisis, ambition, partnerships versus corporate and global versus local.

Listen to the Leading Professional People podcast now.

Bayes Business School and Harvard Law School in important research collaboration

Harvard Law School Center on the Legal Profession Bayes Business School’s Centre for Professional Service Firms and the Harvard Law School’s Center on the Legal Profession have formed a research collaboration to expand and disseminate knowledge about the global legal and professional services sectors. The centres work together to create partnerships across many areas of common interest, such as leadership dynamics and the role of innovation in professional services. Professor Laura Empson from Bayes and Professor David B. Wilkins from Harvard lead the collaboration. Read the joint press release

Challenges of leading professionals explored in book by Professor Laura Empson

Leading Professionals - Power, Politics and Prima Donnas

Leading Professionals: Power, Politics and Prima Donnas, published by Oxford University Press, presents more than 20 years of Laura Empson’s research into professional firms and their leaders. It analyses the complex power dynamics, interpersonal politics, individual insecurities, and organisational paradoxes that lie at the heart of leadership in professional organisations. It has already been hailed by the Financial Times as, “highly revealing and accomplished” and “a rich treasury of research and insight into how to lead professionals”. Empson demonstrates how the leaders of the world’s elite professional firms must constantly work to maintain an equilibrium which can be destabilised at any time, undermining their authority and potentially causing chaos. The book draws on the latest organisational and leadership theory to analyse in detail exactly how professionals come together to create “leadership”. It analyses how change happens within professional organisations and explains why their leaders so often fail.

Watch the video

Find out more here.