Inward internationalization of consumer services: Lessons from Australian firms

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Purpose: The aim of this paper is to explore the inward internationalization process of consumer services. It also aims to conduct a review of the service internationalization literature and use the resource-based view of the firm as a theoretical approach. Design/methodology/approach: Case study methodology is used to explore the internationalization process of five different consumer service sectors: tourism, education, accommodation, transport and entertainment. The main data collection method was interviews conducted with top managers of 12 Australian consumer service firms from these sectors. Findings: Findings of this study show that inward internationalizing services confront most of their barriers, such as immigration policies, exchange rate fluctuations, and cultural differences, in the domestic market where the service is provided. The findings also suggest that superior intentional performance for consumer service firms combines firm-specific resources and capabilities, such as market orientation, service quality, cultural sensitivity, international communicational activities, partnerships and networks, with country-specific resources and capabilities, such as country-of-origin image and government support. Research limitations/implications: This is one of the few studies in the academic literature that directly addresses the issue of inward internationalization of consumer services. Limitations derive from the qualitative nature of this study. Practical implications: The process of inward internationalization applies to a broad range of service industries and can assist firms to develop more effective international marketing strategies. Originality/value: This study contributes to the international services literature by identifying the main barriers and drivers of international performance for inward internationalizing consumer service firms, which is a topic that has been neglected in the literature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)282-293
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Services Marketing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2011


  • Australia
  • Barriers
  • Consumer services
  • Corporate strategy
  • Customer service management
  • Internationalization
  • Inward
  • Performance


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