Purpose - While mainstream theories in international business and management are founded either explicitly or implicitly on studies of manufacturing firms, prior attempts to develop theory on the internationalization of service firms are sparse and have yet to establish solid and comprehensive frameworks. The thrust of this study is that value creation logics, a construct originally developed by Stabell and Fjeldstad (1998) can assist us in better understanding why and how service firms internationalize. We extend this construct and propose that the internationalization of service firms must be based on a thorough understanding of the fundamental nature of these firms. Design/methodology/approach - Theoretical study. Findings - We put forward propositions concerning the pace of internationalization and the default foreign operation modes in service firms. Research limitations/implications - The use of value creation logics can be a useful complement to the conventional approaches to the study of service firms’ internationalization. However, the fact that most firms encompass more than one value creation logic complicates the use of firm databases and industry statistics. Practical implications - We suggest that managers in service firms should consider primarily the nature of the value creation logic(s) in their firms when deciding and designing an internationalization strategy. Originality/value - The study presents a novel theoretical approach and a set of propositions on service firm internationalization founded on the specific characteristics of the service activities.
International Marketing Review, 2014, Vol 31, Issue 6, p. 557-575