Purpose: This paper aims to critically review and integrate the literature available on Uppsala (incremental) and Born Global (rapid) internationalization models and propose an integrative model that applies to both the initial and subsequent stages in internationalization. Design/methodology/approach: This study draws on a systematic review and analysis of the relevant literature, using 87 articles from 28 journals which deal with the Uppsala and/or Born Global conceptualizations. Findings: To date, the two views of internationalization have been presented as competing and fundamentally different explanations, as past research focuses mostly on the original 1977 Uppsala model without accounting for its five subsequent extensions (1990-2013) and not considering in sufficient depth the critical role of the knowledge construct in both models. Research limitations/implications: The study focuses on English-only publications dealing expressly with the Born Global and Uppsala models; while some studies which address the focal theme tangentially may have been missed, the systematic approach to identifying the key studies of interest and the focus on a carefully delineated research domain provides confidence that the main studies relevant to the theme have been captured. Originality/value: The study highlights the important role of knowledge in the internationalization of firms, and it addresses the current divide between the “incremental” and “rapid” conceptualizations which have impeded the development of theory, by positing six research propositions and an integrative model that accounts for both the incremental and rapid approaches.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Born Global, Internationalization, Knowledge, Uppsala
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1108/RIBS-09-2017-0077
Journal Review of International Business and Strategy
Gulanowski, D., Papadopoulos, N, & Plante, L. (Llynne). (2018). The role of knowledge in international expansion: Toward an integration of competing models of internationalization. Review of International Business and Strategy, 28(1), 35–60. doi:10.1108/RIBS-09-2017-0077