The internationalization of professional service firms: Drivers, Forms and Outcomes

Mehdi Boussebaa, Glenn Morgan

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter or section

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This chapter examines the internationalization of professional service firms (PSFs), outlining its drivers, varying forms and organizational implications. We argue that conventional internationalization theory does not apply straightforwardly to PSFs. We identify three key sources of PSF distinctiveness – governance, clients and knowledge – and show how these generate not only differences between PSFs and other types of organizations but also heterogeneity amongst PSFs themselves. Based on this, we identify four different forms of PSF internationalization – network, project, federal and transnational – and note that scholarly interest has mostly focused on the last two of these. We also highlight change towards the transnational model as an underlying theme in PSF research. We find little convincing evidence that this model has been successfully implemented and argue that, in general, PSFs are better understood as federal structures controlled by a few powerful offices than as transnational enterprises. We conclude with suggestions for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOxford Handbook of Professional Service Firms
EditorsL. Empson, D. Muzio, J. Broschak, B. Hinings
Place of PublicationOxford, U. K.
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9780199682393
Publication statusPublished - 13 Aug 2015

Publication series

NameOxford Handbooks
PublisherOxford University Press


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