The evolution of the Uppsala model: Towards non-linearity of internationalization of firms


Objective: The objective of the article is to synthesize the process of transforming the Uppsala model of internationalization of the firm from the original one of 1977 to the most up-to-date model of globalization of 2017.
Research Design & Methods: This article is based on a literature review – primary sources presenting the concepts of Johanson and Vahlne as the authors of the Uppsala models.
Findings: This article discusses a total of seven models proposed by Johansson and Vahlne (in the years 1977, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2017) with their various smooth extensions (1990, 2003, 2006, 2012) showing the way they were transformed and evolved.
Implications & Recommendations: Although stages models are often criticized in the literature, they are still widely used in empirical research. Their successive modifications may attest to their universal character and timelessness.
Contribution & Value Added: The article compiles all the major models from Johanson and Vahlne, and sometimes also of their co-authors (Ivarsson and Schweizer), in one place, showing their common base and differentiating issues that differ in these models.


Uppsala model; U-model; stages model; process internationalization; Johanson and Vahlne; process theory of internationalization; incremental internationalization; international entrepreneurship; network approach

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Published : 2021-06-01

WachK. (2021). The evolution of the Uppsala model: Towards non-linearity of internationalization of firms. International Entrepreneurship Review, 7(2), 7-19.

Krzysztof Wach
Cracow University of Economics  Poland

Full Professor at Cracow University of Economics (Poland). Professor of social sciences (2020), Habilitation (dr hab.) in economics (2013), PhD in management (2006), MSc in international economics (2001). His research interests include international business, international entrepreneurship, EU studies, entrepreneurship and innovation, family firms. Member of AIB (Academy of International Business) and EIBA (European International Business Academy). Editor-in-Chief of ‘Entrepreneurial Business and Economics Review’ (Scopus, ESCI WoS). Associate Editor of various journals incl. ‘European Journal of International Management’ (SCI WoS), ‘Central European Management Journal’ (Scopus, ESCI WoS), ‘Agris on-line Papers in Economics and Informatics’ (Scopus) or ‘European Integration Studies’ (ESCI WoS). Member of the Committee for Economic Sciences of Polish Academy of Sciences (since 2020). Served as expert on entrepreneurship for the European Commission and OECD (2012-2019).

Correspondence to: Prof. Krzysztof Wach, PhD, Cracow University of Economics, ul. Rakowicka 27, 31-510 Kraków, Poland, e-mail:

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