Many industry groupings have been used for academic research when looking at professional services firms, making a clear definition hard to
attain. Some work has been directed at better defining professional service firms (PSF).
Professional services can provided by sole proprietors, partnerships or corporations. A person providing the service can often be described as a consultant. In law,
barristers normally organise themselves into chambers. Businesses in other industries, such as banks and retailers, can employ individuals or teams to offer professional services for their customers.
The marketing and selection of professional-service providers may depend on factors such as skill, knowledge, experience, reputation, capacity, ethics, and creativity. Large corporations may have a formal procurement
process for engaging professional services. Prices for services, even within the same field,
may vary greatly. Professional-service providers may offer fixed rates for specific work, charge in relation to the number or seniority of people engaged, or charge in relation to the success or profit generated by the project.
1.Classic PSFs (e.g. law and accounting firms) - characterised by a high knowledge intensity, a professionalised workforce, and low capital intensity
2.Professional campuses (e.g. hospitals) - characterised by a high knowledge intensity, a professionalised workforce, and high capital intensity
3.Neo-PSFs (e.g. management consultants) - characterised by a high knowledge intensity and a low capital intensity
4.Technology developers (e.g. R&D firms, biotechs) - characterised by a high knowledge intensity and a high capital intensity.