This study examines three Danish architectural firms' market-seeking internationalization efforts on the German market of the nineties, (a) to find suitable descriptive models of architectural and other professional service firms' project acquisition and internationalization efforts and (b) to develop hypothetical prepositions for future testing. Due to the small population of Danish architectural firms and the very spread and eclectic body of research on the marketing of projects such as architectural projects, the study encompasses mainly qualitative case research as well as an abductive, explorative-integrative approach to the scrutiny of existing theories and models. Key contributions of the Industrial Marketing and Purchasing (IMP) group of researchers and its subgroup, the International Network for Project Marketing and Systems Selling (INPM), are scrutinized, as are elements of the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu's social and cultural capital framework and various contributions from reference theory and the boundary spanner and knowledge management literatures. The study's research questions focus on understanding relations between the actors involved in the Danish internationalization of architectural services to Germany in the 1990s, the types of knowledge the case firms needed to acquire and use to obtain German architectural projects, and the project acquisition process, including especially the role that previous project work plays in project acquisitions abroad. The results of the research indicate that IMP models of internationalization and governance structure need to be modified somewhat in order to capture the key features of the relations between the actors involved in the internationalization of architectural services. Moreover, previously existing models of knowledge management did not sufficiently explain the acquisition and use of knowledge in the three Danish firms' German project acquisitions; these were therefore supplemented with insights from the boundary spanner literature and some model adaptation. However much further research is needed in this area. As concerns the project acquisition process, the applicability of a preexisting INPM model (from Cova et al. 1994), albeit with slight modifications, e.g., for the specific situations of public sector tendering or long-term client relations, was demonstrated. Furthermore insights based on reference theory (Salminen 1997) and Bourdieu's social and cultural capital theory could be combined to explain the dynamics of the project acquisition process, including the role of previous project work. The study resulted in seven general hypothetical propositions and four managerially-relevant general models which should be externally validated in future studies.
Evaluating Marketing Actions and Outcomes, 2003
Professional services; Architects; Project marketing; Denmark; Germany; Professionelle tjenesteydelser; Arkitekter; Projektmarkedsføring; Danmark; Tyskland