• From outsider to insider: how creative professional service firms internationalise

      McQuillan, Deirdre; Scott, P.S.; Mangematin, V. (2018)
      Purpose – The management of reputation and status is central to creative professional service firms (CPSFs) rendering the internationalisation process a particular challenge. We build on arguments that internationalisation requires moving from outsidership to insidership within client networks and focus on how CPSFs build signals about quality to start this process. Design/methodology/approach – The exploration draws from the international business, professional services and organizational status bodies of literature. A multiple case study design is developed comprising ten Irish architecture firms. In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted. Findings - The findings clarify how relationships start in the internationalisation process through signal building. This allows firms to join client networks moving from outsidership to insidership. Our findings systemise three different approaches for CPSFs: from outsidership to insidership within a local market network, within a global industry network and within a global project network. Research Limitations/Implications – Research within other sectoral and geographical contexts could support transferability of the findings. Practical implications – The study has implications for CPSF’s international business strategies as it identifies multiple paths to gaining network insidership and the tactics employed to achieve this.