International trade in services is a dominant feature of the global economy but it has not received a corresponding level of attention in international business research. In this study, we review the status of research on the internationalisation of services and service firms in the international business domain in order to derive questions for future research. We replicate and extend Merchant and Gaur’s (Management International Review 48, p. 379–396, 2008) review of research on the internationalisation of non-manufacturing firms for the following 10 years (2009–2018) for five leading international business journals. In addition to providing a qualitative content analysis of the literature, we extend the study to all research published by 2018 to identify research gaps and emerging research themes. Overall, we find that while research on service internationalisation has increased, the field remains fragmented and lacks theoretical and conceptual development applicable to the internationalisation of services. This creates opportunities for future research.
Bibliographical notePublished online: 25. June 2020
- Literature review
- Non-manufacturing sector
- Service firm