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Journal cover: Journal of Strategy and Management

Journal of Strategy and Management

ISSN: 1755-425X

Online from: 2008

Subject Area: Strategy

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Recombining national variety: internationalisation strategies of American and European law firms

Document Information:
Title:Recombining national variety: internationalisation strategies of American and European law firms
Author(s):Sigrid Quack, (Institution Building across Borders, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Cologne, Germany)
Citation:Sigrid Quack, (2012) "Recombining national variety: internationalisation strategies of American and European law firms", Journal of Strategy and Management, Vol. 5 Iss: 2, pp.154 - 174
Keywords:Internationalization, Legal professions, Multinational companies, Professional service firms, Professional services, Recombination, Service industries, Societal effect, Strategy
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/17554251211222884 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Acknowledgements:The author would like to thank Maria Konrad for her invaluable support in constructing and analysing the data set used in this article. Jonathan Zeitlin provided very constructive comments that helped to sharpen the argument. The author is also very grateful for helpful comments on previous versions of this paper to two anonymous reviewers of this journal and the Editor of this Special Issue, as well to the participants in the Special Issue Development Workshop held at the University of Groningen on 18 November 2010. Mark Lutter provided useful methodological advice.

Purpose – This paper aims to explore internationalisation strategies of service firms in sectors where markets become increasingly globalised while resource environments still remain distinctively shaped by national institutions.

Design/methodology/approach – A theoretical framework is proposed that suggests that the more firms expand their business activities across borders by building up offices abroad or merging with firms from other countries, the more likely they are to embrace recombinant strategies to blend elements of different societal legacies. Subsequently, a comparative case study of internationalisation strategies, governance modes and organisational forms of European and US law firms is presented to illustrate the value of the framework, followed by the analysis of a novel data set on multi-jurisdictional qualifications of partners in these international law firms.

Findings – By virtue of their integrative organisational model and mobilisation of versatile legal competences, large pan-European law firms are challenging the dominance of US law firms in international legal markets, while the latter in response are revising their own previous export-oriented internationalisation strategy.

Research limitations/implications – The present study provides a starting point for further research on internationalisation in service industries.

Originality/value – The framework is useful to expand effect societal analysis to dynamic international environments.

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