Document Type

Theses, Ph.D


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence

Publication Details

Thesis submitted for the award of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), to Technological University Dublin, December 2013.


The need to understand the internationalization process of the organization is a field of increasing contemporary interest due to greatly intensified trade flows between nations over the last two decades. While traditionally internationalization was generally pursued by manufacturing firms, service organizations, including creative professional service firms (creative PSFs) such as architects now commonly internationalize their activities. However, theory to date continues to focus on traditional manufacturing firms, and while insights relating to service firm internationalization have gained traction over the last decade, theoretical contributions remain fragmented and overlook the particular features of how creative PSFs internationalize. This is despite the growing recognition that trade in creative knowledge intensive services is a critical component to the health and competitiveness of both mature and emerging economies. This study addresses this gap by exploring how creative PSFs internationalize using ten case studies within the architecture sector. The in-depth qualitative analysis of interview and archival data enables the composition of three research papers, representing three key theoretical contributions. The primary contributions are to international business (IB) literature, firstly by unpacking the portfolio of business models that creative PSFs use to internationalize, and secondly by identifying how creative PSFs internationalize by moving from outside to inside relevant international networks. The second paper also adds to organizational status literature by uncovering the interplay between hierarchies of networks. The identification of a strategic dichotomy within the particular creative PSF sector detailed in the first paper represents a significant contribution to the PSF literature.