Can Uppsala Model Explain the Internationalisation of Central European SMEs?

  • Marcela Tuzová Department of Marketing and Trade, Faculty of Business and Economics, Mendel University in Brno, Zemědělská 1, 613 00 Brno, Czech Republic,
  • Martina Toulová Department of Marketing and Trade, Faculty of Business and Economics,Mendel University in Brno, Zemědělská 1, 613 00 Brno, Czech Republic,
  • Jakub Straka Department of Marketing and Trade, Faculty of Business and Economics, Mendel University in Brno, Zemědělská 1, 613 00 Brno, Czech Republic, e-mail:
  • Lea Kubíčková Department of Marketing and Trade, Faculty of Business and Economics, Mendel University in Brno, Zemědělská 1, 613 00 Brno, Czech Republic
Keywords: Uppsala model, risk perception, psychic distance, SMEs, internationalisation


The aim of this paper is to scrutinize some aspects of the Uppsala model whose applicability for SMEs' internationalisation is often questioned. This model explains internationalisation as a sequential process based on learning in which an enterprise increases its international commitment in incremental steps (Johanson and Vahlne, 1977). The assumptions of Uppsala model are discussed in conditions of SMEs from different countries, namely the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Austria and Germany. The paper is based on primary data obtained by questionnaire survey performed in 2014. Respondents were small and medium-sized firms from the above mentioned countries. Following assumptions are scrutinized: SMEs start internationalisation by exporting to neighbouring markets, SMEs behave in internationalisation according to the establishment chain, SMEs' risk perception regarding foreign markets with different psychic distance changes with the obtained knowledge and SMEs' risk perception regarding particular foreign markets differs depending on the country which the enterprise comes from.


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