The Role of Headquarters
New Horizons in International Business series
Edited by Ulf Andersson and Ulf Holm
Chapter 13: A Dialogue About the Uppsala Model of Internationalization
Mats Forsgren and Jan Johanson INTRODUCTION The following text is not an ordinary research report or article we usually see in academic writings. Instead it is a kind of experiment in order to develop maybe a new form that reflects, in a written form, the exchange of ideas and opinions in research seminars. These seminars constitute the circulatory system in most academic research, but the discussions during the seminars are seldom reported afterwards. The dialogue below is an attempt to reflect such a discussion. It is a result of an ongoing debate between the authors over the last ten years about what the Uppsala model of internationalization is and is not. We have deliberately been quite personal and even emotional in our dialogue, just as it can be in an ordinary research seminar, at least among friends. So let’s go. Mats As we all know, the Uppsala model of internationalization, launched essentially in a JIBS article from 1977 (Johanson and Vahlne, 1977), is a model about firm behaviour in which gradual acquisition of knowledge about foreign markets and considerations of risk are crucial for for the future shaping of the firm’s internationalization. The model can also be looked upon as a reaction to the contemporary models rooted in neoclassical economic theory, in which foreign direct investment was treated as a decision of whether or not to invest, rather than as an issue of firms’ investment behaviour over time. The inspiration was the Behavioural Theory of the Firm (Cyert and March,...
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