This article seeks to contribute to our understanding of the internationalization processes of business service sectors through an analysis of the 20 leading TNCs in the temporary staffing industry. While these TNCs broadly conform to a loosely coordinated decentralized or multinational organisational model, there is significant firm-to-firm, spatial and temporal variability in the internationalization strategies that they employ, deriving from both the breadth of the industry - i.e. the range of different staffing activities that it encompasses - and the inherently territorially-embedded nature of staffing industry activity. These complexities are exemplified through consideration, in turn, of the scope of staffing TNCs, their foreign direct investment strategies, levels of central coordination, and degrees of standardization. The analysis demonstrates that, due to the need to respond to markets, temporary staffing TNCs exhibit highly spatially and temporally variable internationalization strategies and there are considerable barriers to both the centralization of control and the standardization of business practices. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.