br Discussion Although Mills et al suggested that profession
Discussion Although Mills et al. (1983) suggested that professional service firms would exhibit a high level of specialization, most architectural firms in the study exhibited low to moderate levels of specialization. This may suggest that although professional services are specialized services requiring professionals who specialize in their tasks, professionals performed more than one task within the architectural firms in the study. In addition, the low to moderate levels of specialization was observed in the data in spite of the fact that almost half of the firms indicated having departments. It is possible that even within the departments, the staff continues to multi-task. It may be insightful to investigate the types of departments that exist in architectural firms and the manner by which they operate. In line with the suggestion of Mills et al., however, the level of centralization in most of the firms was generally not so high. This is because most of the firms either were decentralized or exhibited a moderate level of centralization. This possibly suggests that professionals in the firms were given free hand to operate as well as to participate in the administration of the firms. Most of the firms likewise exhibited moderate to high levels of formalization. This suggests that although the professionals had a free hand to operate in most of the firms, they had written guidelines. As earlier noted, Pertusa-Ortega et al. (2010) suggested that decentralization enables members of organizations to act autonomously, thereby fostering better business opportunities. This appears to be the case as decentralized firms performed best, suggesting that the inputs of professionals in architectural firms are highly important in running the firms to achieve best performance. Moreover, it cam kinase ii possibly suggests that when architectural firms allow their employees to participate in management, they profit more. It is not immediately clear why the levels of specialization and formalization do not directly influence firm performance. However, it is possible that these dimensions of structure work through other factors in influencing the performance of architectural firms. In line with the findings of Demsetz and Villalonga (2001), the legal form of ownership of the firms as well as other ownership characteristics of architectural firms did not directly influence firm performance in terms of profit. This appears contrary to the findings of Fraser (2000) and Kim and Arditi (2010) on managers of construction firms. However, pioneer community suggests that influence of managers who are owners on firm performance may differ from the influence of managers who are not owners. Another way that the interaction of ownership characteristics and structure influenced performance was in terms of the way certain legal structures suited particular levels of formalization and resulted in better performance of the architectural firms. Although Greenwood and Empson (2003) explained that professional partnerships are expected to perform better because they are more likely to attract more clients and charge more fees because they are more client-oriented than private corporations, the findings of this study show that partnerships that adopt a high level of formalization perform better than those that adopt a low level of formalization. The same applies to limited liability companies as well. However, the opposite applies to sole principal firms. These results suggest that the level of formalization often associated with particular legal structures may need to be moderated for better performance. This is because when one person owns a firm, there is a tendency that there will be no agreement, rules, or regulations. The fact that the sole principal owned firms in the study performed better with higher levels of formalization of office procedures may therefore be explained by the fact that a higher level formalization than would be expected of such firms may help to coordinate activities, and thus reduce waste and inefficient procedures, leading to savings and increased profits. However, such firms may lose profit through lower formalization levels as only one principal may not adequately achieve efficiency, with tasks performed unsystematically. With partnerships and limited liability companies in the study, which are often expected to have written agreements, codes of practice, and procedures, better performance is recorded when those rules and procedures are played.