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Unformatted text preview: IJSIM 8,5 362 Inward international activities in service firms illustrated by three cases from the tourism industry Ingmar Bjrkman Department of Management and Organization, Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration, Helsinki, Finland, and Sren Kock Department of Marketing and Corporate Geography, Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration, Vasa, Finland During the last two decades, the internationalization process of the firm has been one of the main research topics in international marketing research. The focus of this research has been on how manufacturing firms over time have expanded their operations outside their home countries. A number of studies have described the outward movement of a companys operations in terms of operation method, target markets, and sales objects (see Welch and Luostarinen 1988). Although less attention has been paid to the internationalization of service firms, a growing number of studies has been carried out also on companies in this category (e.g. Edvardsson et al ., 1992; Engwall and Wallenstl, 1988; Erramilli, 1990; Erramilli and Rao, 1993; Hellman, 1996). Inward international activities has until recently been largely neglected (Welch and Luostarinen, 1993). This is particularly the case concerning service companies. Thus, for example very little is known about how service firms import potential customers so that they can consume the service in the service providers home country. In studies of the internationalization of tourism companies, the focus has been on the outward internationalization processes of large or multinational companies, or internationalization has been treated as a distribution problem (e.g. Linneballe and Mller, 1984). Hence, the aim of this article is to explore the inward international activities in service firms. The focus in this study is on analysing international activities in terms of the operation method used, the target markets, and the marketing activities used International Journal of Service Industry Management, Vol. 8 No. 5, 1997, pp. 362-376. MCB University Press, 0956-4233 This article was partly written during the second authors stay as visiting scholar at the Center for Relationship Marketing, Goizueta Business School, Emory University in Atlanta (USA) during the spring of 1996. Financial support from Foundation of Liikesivistysrahasto and Foundation of Gustav Svanljung is gratefully acknowledged. The authors would like to thank Lotta Grnroos, Thomas Guss, Anu Kostiander, Malin Nyholm, Arja Puustinen and Linda Wikstrand for their valuable help in the data collection process. International activities in service firms 363 abroad. Empirical data are presented from three Finnish companies in the tourist industry....
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This note was uploaded on 05/04/2010 for the course MARKETING ME501 taught by Professor Mark during the Spring '10 term at Assumption College.

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