Jan Johanson and Jan-Erik Vahlne awarded the 2019 JIBS Decade Award


Jan Johanson, professor emeriuts Uppsala University, and Jan-Erik Vahlne, professor emeritus Gothenburg University, are the winners of the 2019 JIBS Decade Award for their article The Uppsala internationalization process model revisited: From liability of foreignness to liability of outsidership.

The JIBS Decade Award is designed to recognize the most influential article published in JIBS (Journal of International Business Studies) 10 years ago. 

The selection committee's motivation:
"Johanson and Vahlne (2009) offer a timely reflection on how the research frontiers of international business have changed since publication of their seminal 1977 article. This leads them to thoughtfully reconsider their original arguments, noting if and how their initial assumptions – based on a study of Swedish-owned subsidiaries abroad- require updating. In so doing, Johanson and Vahlne demonstrate an important characteristic of strong scholarship: the willingness and ability of scholars to move forward from early contributions to acknowledge and incorporate new insights that emerged with the passage of time.

Johanson and Vahlne’s 2009 paper has substantially impacted research within and outside international business. It is used by researchers publishing in marketing, strategy, entrepreneurship, management, small business management, family business, and innovation management (among others).

The 2009 paper revisits the 1997 Uppsala model by exploring developments in a number of literatures parallel to, yet part of, international business research. First, Johanson and Vahlne reposition the Uppsala model to acknowledge research from marketing on business networks. They view business networks as a market structure in which ‘the internationalizing firm is embedded’. This perspective highlights the key role of interaction between actors in international markets; interaction that leads to socially constructed international business relationships based on reciprocal commitment, learning, and trust.  This is a key point of differentiation from more traditional economic theory that defines a firm without reference to other firms. Also notable is Johanson and Vahlne’s effort to articulate the concepts of network ‘insidership’ and ‘outsidership’, and the resultant implications for internationalizing firms.

Second, Johanson and Vahlne incorporate arguments central to entrepreneurship research. They argue that opportunity development is a process similar to those of internationalization and relationship development. In the 2009 model, opportunities are considered to be the core element of knowledge that drives internationalization, with internationalization being pursued within a network. They also note the potential overlaps between effectuation logic and internationalization, including the centrality of individual actors and their characteristics (the latter being implied in the 2009 model)."

Read more abotu the JIBS Decade Award 
Access to the winning article