The Characteristics of International Business-to-business Services: The 4C Framework

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

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference abstract for conferenceResearchpeer-review


With the increasing importance of business-to-business (b-2-b) and knowledge intensive services in the contemporary global business environment, it is imperative to understand the characteristics of international service activities. However, research on international services is fragmented, inconclusive, and at times even contradictory among a variety of academic fields. Thus, we develop a unified conceptual framework that identifies the characteristics of international b-2-b services. We develop this framework by reviewing international business, economic geography, urban-regional science and service management literature, resulting in the identification of three major challenges of the fields related to the definition of the services, their level of analysis, and the impact of institutional environments on the services. These challenges are the foundation for the identification of four interconnected service characteristic components, i.e. connectivity, configuration, collaboration, and creation of value evident in b-2-b service activities. Using the 4C framework allows conceptualizing the impact of international environments on the services. We illustrate this impact with an example related to public policy with high relevance and impact on regional developments. The integrative research approach allows contributing to international business, economic geography, and international service management literature and provides insights for public policy.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2019
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event45th EIBA Annual Conference 2019: What Now? International Business in a Confused World Order - University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom
Duration: 13 Dec 201915 Dec 2019
Conference number: 45


Conference45th EIBA Annual Conference 2019
LocationUniversity of Leeds
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address

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