Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Daniels College of Business

First Advisor

Daniel W. Baack

Second Advisor

Melissa A. Akaka

Third Advisor

Douglas Allen

Fourth Advisor

Andrea Stanton


Corruption, High-risk countries, Psychic distance, State and change variables, Trust, Uppsala model


Johanson and Vahlne’s Uppsala internationalization model is a framework for understanding sequential internationalization, experiential learning, and the commitment decision processes designed to answer the question: “Why and how do firms internationalize?” Each potential market is distinctive due to dissimilar languages, cultures, religions, ethics, political systems, laws, business norms, etc. – all these perceptual differences, which can potentially block the free flow of information between markets, are called “psychic distance.” By completing 34 detailed, semi-structured interviews with executives who have recently made significant financial or resource commitments to enter 28 different challenging countries, this is the first study to focus with a deep "emic" insider's perspective into the ways American SME decision makers utilize the Uppsala model’s state and change variables to enter objectively high-risk countries. The study shows how managers leverage the Uppsala variables – a robust combination of capabilities, commitment processes, knowledge development processes, and actual commitments and performance – to move forward with their internationalization plans, but in a more multi-dimensional and varied way than the Uppsala model’s prescribed sequential, unidirectional, and organized manner. Trust is the most important factor for a successful entry, allowing individuals to leverage trusted network connections. These managers were risk tolerant and were not slowed from entering due to perceptions of psychic distance. Those that acknowledged this distance reported better performance outcomes. This international business research contributes to existing theories on international expansion and psychic distance in high-risk countries, as well as providing practical guidance to managers considering such market expansions.

Copyright Date


Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

All Rights Reserved
All Rights Reserved.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Andrew Kindfuller


Received from ProQuest

File Format



English (eng)


200 pgs

File Size

2.7 MB


Business administration