Internationalization of the Norwegian Oil/Gas Supplier Industry: A Case Study of the Relationship between the Follow-the-Client Strategy and Isomorphism

Hanne Terese Haugnes

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis looks into a proposed relationship between the follow-the-client strategy and isomorphism, through the internationalization of the Norwegian oil/gas supplier industry. Isomorphism tries to explain why organizations tend to become similar, and proposes legitimacy and less uncertainty to be expected outcomes of such process. A follow-the-client strategy may be seen as an isomorphic process, where organizations choose to enter the same foreign markets as their clients. By joining these literature streams, the following research question was phrased: Proposing a relationship between the follow-the-client strategy and isomorphism, do Norwegian oil/gas suppliers achieve legitimacy and/or less uncertainty when entering foreign markets with this approach? With a point of departure in a critical realist research philosophy, a case study was chosen as research design. To better understand the opinions of the company decision makers and to be able to measure the proposed research variables, a survey was incorporated as a data collection technique. The findings were analyzed by means of descriptive statistics, complemented with t-tests when appropriate, and were complemented with conducted interviews with company decision makers and experts, and data from secondary sources, providing complementing perspectives to the survey findings, and thus a more holistic outlook onto this study and the topic at large. A pattern matching technique comparing the empirically based pattern to both a proposed pattern and rival propositions was used to analyze all evidence. The findings indicate that through a follow-the-client approach of entering foreign markets, decision makers seem to have achieved legitimacy, and to a certain extent also less uncertainty, such approach seeming especially pertinent for companies intending to start exporting. Based on these findings, new propositions have been presented, which can be used as a guide for future research eventually leading to theory building.

EducationsMSc in Business, Language and Culture, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2013
Number of pages102