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Management under uncertainty - the unavoidable risk-taking

Journal article
Authors Jan-Erik Vahlne
M. Hamberg
Roger Schweizer
Published in Multinational Business Review
Volume 25
Issue 2
Pages 91-109
ISSN 1525-383X
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Business Administration
Pages 91-109
Language English
Links doi.org/10.1108/mbr-03-2017-0015
Keywords Management under uncertainty, Uppsala internationalization process model, INTERNATIONALIZATION PROCESS, MODEL, EFFECTUATION, DECISIONS, SELECTION, EVOLUTION, CHOICES, FIRMS
Subject categories Business Administration


Purpose - Accentuating the concept of management under uncertainty in the Uppsala internationalization process model, the purpose of this paper is to develop a model for describing how managers act while keeping uncertainty at an acceptable level. Design/methodology/approach - The authors perform two empirical studies to underpin the model they construct. First, a survey of 309 chief executive officers and chief financial officers in large, publicly listed international firms in the Nordic region on managerial risk perceptions and, second, a case study of Volvo Car Corporation and its endeavors when developing new car models for the Chinese market on a new platform - a process characterized by unprecedented uncertainty. Findings - The proposed model describing managers' behavior under uncertainty contains elements such as adjusting/proceeding in small steps, reducing uncertainty via learning, building relationships with important parties in the environment to avoid unforeseen changes and re-dos (i.e. starting all over again) and, perhaps most important, acting despite uncertainty. Originality/value - The paper highlights a central, though forgotten, concept of the Uppsala internationalization process model, i.e. management under uncertainty, and, thereby, opens a new path for research on how manager behave under the sway of uncertainty.

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