Purpose – To understand better how professional services firms (PSFs) use networks to gain entry into newly emerging markets (NEMs), to analyze how such firms are assisted in this process by prior networks and to provide a framework of this process. Design/methodology/approach – The methodology utilised in this study is qualitative and exploratory. Ten interviews across three large firms (legal, finance and media consulting) were used for the data gathering. Analysis incorporated open, axial and selective coding. Findings – Prior networks provide impetus to the foreign entry aspirations of PSFs and are critical to the process. The specific functions of network actors in the entry process are to influence the firm and to provide intelligence‐gathering, arising from their participatory role in the foreign market. A framework is presented, supporting network theory as a key theoretical underpinning of strategy formulation, decision‐making and implementation by PSFs entering NEMs. Research limitations/implications – The framework presented in this paper could be tested most appropriately by analysing an extended number of cases, still within a qualitative approach, prior to survey‐testing the extent of the phenomena. Within the scope of the current study, however, the framework is supported by these preliminary findings. Practical implications – Networks are perceived by PSFs as a medium for capturing market knowledge and as a basis for strategic decision‐making in NEMs. Originality/value – Network theory is posited as a key theoretical underpinning of core strategy formulation, decision‐making and implementation by professional services entering NEMs.
International Journal of Service Industry Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 1, 2007
Keywords: Professional services; Networking; Decision making; Market entry; Emerging markets; Australia
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