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The theoretical evolution and use of the Uppsala Model of internationalization in the international business ecosystem

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Abstract

The Uppsala Model – typically viewed as an internationalization process model, an internationalization stages model, or a sequential internationalization model – has served as a theoretical underpinning in the international business literature since Johanson and Vahlne’s (J Int Bus Stud 8(1):23–32, 1977) article incorporated thoughts by researchers at Uppsala University in one all-encompassing model. Major updates to the model were published in 2009 and 2017 by the original authors. Our work examines what has now become the time-tested and Decade Award–winning 2009 version of the Uppsala Model relative to the original model in 1977. We also provide an outlook for international business research within the scope of the 2017 version of the model. This evaluation and dive across times into the nuances of the Uppsala Model capture aspects of the model’s theoretical and empirical power, as well as its limitations within today’s international business ecosystem. (The international business ecosystem is defined as the organisms of the business world – including stakeholders, organizations, and countries – involved in exchanges, production, business functions, and cross-border trade through both marketplace competition and cooperation.) In the process, we push the theoretical boundaries of the model and provide a unique connection to marketing thought.

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Correspondence to G. Tomas M. Hult.

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Accepted by Alain Verbeke, Editor-in-Chief, 21 November 2019. This article has been with the authors for one revision and was single-blind reviewed.

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Hult, G.T.M., Gonzalez-Perez, M.A. & Lagerström, K. The theoretical evolution and use of the Uppsala Model of internationalization in the international business ecosystem. J Int Bus Stud 51, 38–49 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41267-019-00293-x

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