This article advances our understanding of network internationalization by professional service firms. We address gaps in the literature concerning the various kinds of networks; their role in international strategies, including learning, and knowledge transfer; and their structural and governance mechanisms. Concentrating on the network dependency of 177 European law firms, we analyse and summarize their structural and governance tendencies. Then we develop a typology of seven international peer networks. The seven types identified are: 'Loose', a network of disconnected actors, where exchange is mostly limited to referrals; 'Constricted', referral-based networks aimed at optimizing exchange flows and cooperation; 'Focused', networks aimed at a specific sector or specialty; 'Friends', informal, non-exclusive networks; 'Exclusives', formal alliances or cooperative relations; 'Monogamous', well-established, broad, longstanding, and close relationships; and 'Isolated', project-related alliances of limited duration. We conclude with a discussion that considers this typology in light of possible intangible outcomes of membership and proposes how this might be extended in future research.
- law firms
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Business and International Management
- Strategy and Management
- Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management