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Rethinking international manufacturing in times of global turbulence: convergent perspectives of international business and international operations management

Special issue call for papers from Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management

Special Issue Information

Indisputably, business today has become international. During the past decades, both international trade and foreign direct investment (FDI) have increased explosively, resulting in the globalisation of markets. The role of companies has accordingly changed from supplying international markets through export, to supplying international markets through local manufacturing. In recent years, due to the global turbulence within politics, economic power, technological trends and environmental changes, the factors influencing international operations management are profoundly changing and new issues to be studied are emerging. First, firms’ strategies towards internationalisation are being reconsidered due to shifts in global economic development, as the motto for multinationals seems to be changing from “integrate globally and adapt locally” to “integrate locally and adapt globally”. Second, conservative winds and national protectionism within politics change the rationale of international operations. Third, the introduction of new vibrant technologies started to change the traditional production methods for many products with profound implications for manufacturing location and supply chain design, specifically the emergence of Industry 4.0. With such a variety of developments presently influencing international operations, a discussion of its likely future trajectories is both timely and necessary. Thus, this special issue of Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management aims at rethinking international manufacturing in times of global turbulence and highlighting whether and how firms’ internationalisation decisions especially in what concerns the manufacturing function are influenced by these economic, political, and technological trends.

Since the turn of the century, the subject of management of international operations has made up only a small percentage of articles in Operations Management (OM) journals. The international OM discipline has studied the subsidiaries of multinationals essentially as manufacturing plants, isolated from other elements of international operations. Internationalisation of manufacturing has in many cases been a starting point and thereafter accompanied by other value chain activities, e.g. sourcing, engineering and R&D. However, the internationalisation of these areas is normally discussed separately. There is a need to take an extended view on the manufacturing network and incorporate markets, R&D centres, important suppliers, host country and inter-firm relationships into the studies. Similarly, international business scholars have, for a long time, studied internationalisation and addressing issues critical for international operations management. Inexplicably, OM has been distant from their focus of interest. Their perspective presents manufacturing and operations as ancillary, thus lacking relevance to explain internationalisation strategies.

Therefore, topics that have been long addressed in the domain of international business, such as power distribution in the network, network structure and government, and the relationship between headquarters and subsidiaries, might need to be replicated in the context of international operations/manufacturing. We encourage the submissions to adopt those theories widely used in the studies of international business to address international operations. We also encourage the submission for this special issue to address the interaction between different functions in their internationalisation.

Possible topics for submissions include, but are not limited to:

  • Relationship between the firm’s business strategy in the times of global turbulence and the footprint of its global production network
  • Choice of sites around the world for production of different parts of the firm’s value chain in the context of recent economic, political, and technological trends
  • Choice and consequences of how the site is set up (green field, outsourced, licensed alliance, joint venture, or acquisition) in the context of recent economic, political, and technological trends
  • The optimisation of the allocation of the firm’s critical resources in its global production and supply chain networks in the times of global turbulence
  • Impact of new technologies (e.g., IoT, Industry 4.0, Blockchain, and 3-D printing) on the design and management of the firm’s global production networks
  • Consolidation of global production and supply chain networks after merger and acquisition
  • Tracking and auditing the evolution of the firm’s global production and supply chain network and understanding their interaction
  • Tracking and auditing the evolution of the firm’s global production and other functional networks and understanding their interaction
  • Exploring power distribution in global production network
  • Understanding the government structure of global value chains and its impacts on multinationals’ international configuration
  • Exploring the relationship between headquarters and plants and understanding the impacts of host and home country contexts on this relationship

For more information about this special issue, please see here:

How to Submit

Papers should be submitted by 15 September 2019.
All papers should be submitted via ScholarOne:
Selected papers will go through a rigorous double-blind reviewing process. For further information and enquiries, please contact Guest Editors.

Guest Editors

Yang Cheng
Aalborg University, Denmark

Anna Fredrikssom
Linköping University, Sweden

Afonso Fleury
University of São Paulo, Brazil