The adoption of the incorporated form of ownership in preference to partnership is linked to the shift to a more modem organizational archetype in professional firms. Yet existing empirical research offers insufficient insight into the organizational processes of this transformation in different professional arenas. Where ownership and control become separated, there is a clearer theoretical explanation of the implications for the way the firm is run. Where ownership and control remain inside, the firm, however, the consequences are not so clear and have not been well explored. Using survey and interview materials derived from a study of architecture practices, we examine the processes by which differences based on ownership emerge. Then, by drawing on Weberian theories, where they are concerned with professionalization as a project with material and social rewards, we specify more clearly the context for change in professional firms' archetypes. This, we conclude, provides a stronger basis for understanding the change trajectories of firms within professions and comparative organizational analysis between professions.