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New insights into the internationalization of producer services: Organizational strategies and spatial economies for global headhunting firms

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2008
<mark>Journal</mark>Environment and Planning A
Issue number1
Volume40
Number of pages25
Pages (from-to)210-234
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This paper uses the exemplar of global headhunting firms to provide new insights into the intricacies of internationalization and related ‘spatial economies’ of producer services in the world economy. In particular, we unpack the complex relationships between the organisational rationale for, the selected mode of, and future benefits gained by internationalization, as headhunting firms seek and create new geographical markets. We achieve this through an analysis of headhunting firm-specific case study data that details the evolving way such firms organize their differential strategic growth (organic, merger and acquisition, and alliances/network) and forms (wholly-owned, networked or hybrid). We also highlight how, as elite labour market intermediaries, headhunters are important, yet understudied, actors within the (re)production of a ‘softer’, ‘knowledgeable’ capitalism. Our argument, exemplified through detailed mapping of the changing geographies of headhunting firms between 1992 and 2005, demonstrates the need for complex and blurred typologies of internationalization and
similarly complex internationalization theory.