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Service embeddedness and its role in a firm’s internationalisation process: An Australian perspective

Robert Jack (Department of Marketing and Management, Faculty of Business and Economics, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia)
Sharif As-Saber (School of Management, Faculty of Business, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia)
Ron Edwards (Department of Management, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Article publication date: 2 March 2015




Perceived differences in the composition of goods and services forms the basis of a significant degree of analysis of the firm internationalisation process. In particular, product inseparability is highlighted as a distinguishing feature of service offerings and purports to explain the different approaches to internationalisation strategy adopted by service firms. The research, however, proposes that the division of goods and services into distinct products is outmoded. Rather, it is important to understand the extent of service components that embody, or are embedded in, a product offering. The authors argue that this “service embeddedness” influences the process by which a firm internationalises. The paper aims to discuss these issues.


Based on ten case studies of Australian international firms, this paper examines the impact of service embeddedness on a firm’s internationalisation process.


The research underlines that firms approach internationalisation with a view of ensuring that the various activities that combine to form their product offering are available to their international clients.

Research limitations/implications

From an academic perspective, a dichotomous approach to products (good or service) underestimates the role that embedded services have on a firm’s internationalisation process. The research, therefore, has implications for researchers and practitioners as it highlights the importance of delivering products internationally that comprise of both good and embedded service components.


The research develops a deeper understanding of the extent and nature of separability within individual product categories from international production and operations perspectives.



Jack, R., As-Saber, S. and Edwards, R. (2015), "Service embeddedness and its role in a firm’s internationalisation process: An Australian perspective", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 35 No. 3, pp. 346-369.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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