International Services: The Interface between Service Characteristics, Policy, and Institutions

Kristin Brandl, Peter D. Ørberg Jensen, Andrew Jones, Patrik Ström

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


The implemented European Union Services Directive aimed at creating a unified European market for trade in services. However, the implementation of the institutions was not fully successful as to the characteristics of international services caused challenges in the ratification of the Directive. Research on international services is facing similar challenges based on the fragmented, inconclusive, and at times even contradictory findings of international services literature with regard to service characteristics. Thus, each academic field of international business, economic geography, and service management has tried to identify international service characteristics, but no unified characterization is found. The challenges in defining the different types of services, difference in the levels of analysis, and various impacts of policies and institutional environments on the service, cause these differences. The authors see the need for a unified framework that combines the different literatures and considers the policy implications. The authors develop a framework consisting of four components of international service characteristics, that is, the connectivity of service actors to the environment, the configuration of service activities within organizational set-ups, the dyadic collaborative interaction between service actors, and the created value by the services. The authors specifically consider policy and institutions as well as a vast variety of literature streams to support the arguments.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Multiple Dimensions of Institutional Complexity in International Business Research
EditorsAlain Verbeke, Rob van Tulder, Elizabeth L. Rose, Yingqi Wei
Number of pages12
Place of PublicationBingley
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing
Publication date2021
ISBN (Print)9781800432451
ISBN (Electronic)9781800432444, 9781800432468
Publication statusPublished - 2021
SeriesProgress in International Business Research


  • International services
  • Economic geography
  • International business
  • Service management
  • Service characteristics
  • Institutions

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