The Selection Committee for the JIBS Decade Award is pleased to announce
that the 2009 JIBS article “The Uppsala internationalization process model
revisited: From liability of foreignness to liability of outsidership” by
Jan Johanson and Jan-Erik Vahlne has been selected as the winner of the 2019
JIBS Decade Award.


The award, sponsored by Palgrave Macmillan, is designed to recognize the
most influential paper published in the Journal of International Business
Studies ten years prior and is presented at the annual AIB conference. In
order to be considered for the JIBS Decade Award, an article must be one of
the five most cited articles published in JIBS for the year being
considered. This year’s Selection Committee members were Nicole Coviello
(Chair, Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada), the current AIB Program Chair
(Maria Tereza Fleury, Escola de Administracão de Empresas de São Paulo,
Brazil) and immediate past AIB Program Chair (J.T. Li, Hong Kong University
of Science and Technology). JIBS Editor-in-Chief Alain Verbeke was an ex
officio, non-voting committee member.


In recommending the award-winning article, the committee noted that,
“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).


“For all these reasons, the selection committee recommends the Johanson and
Vahlne (2009) paper, which has become a widely cited and highly impactful
article, for the 2019 JIBS Decade Award.” 


A session will be held at the upcoming 2019 AIB Annual Meeting in
Copenhagen, in which the authors and invited discussants, namely Maria
Tereza Fleury (FGV EAESP) and JT Li (HKUST), and Nicole Coviello (Wilfrid
Laurier University) and co-authors, will comment on the paper. A reception
honoring the Decade Award winning paper and its authors will also be held as
part of the closing reception at the conference. We hope that you will join
us in Copenhagen to attend these events; the date and times will be
available at when the conference program is


A retrospective by the authors, together with the discussants’ commentaries,
will be published in the first issue of the 2020 volume of the Journal of
International Business Studies.


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