Scandinavian Working Papers in Business Administration

Occasional Papers,
Uppsala University, Department of Business Studies

No 2001/1: The concept of learning in the Uppsala internationalization process model : a critical review

Mats Forsgren

Abstract: In behavioral models dealing with the internationalization process, such as the Uppsala Internationalization Process Model, knowledge and learning have a profound impact on how the firm is seen to approach foreign markets. In the light of recent work on learning in organizations, this paper addresses some issues related to how the process of learning is conceptualized in the Uppsala Model. It is argued that a more narrow interpretation of learning is applied by the model builders than the literature allows for, which limits the ability of the model to explain certain forms of internationalization behavior. It is also claimed that perceiving a firm to be a loosely coupled organization causes some problems in relation to the model’s possibility to predict internationalization behavior. The consequences of the strong emphasis on individuals as the holders of market-specific knowledge are also discussed. The paper concludes with some remarks on the emergence of interesting research issues about internationalization behavior if a broader concept of organizational learning is applied.

Keywords: Internationalization; Knowledge; Learning; Loose-coupling

27 pages, 2001

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