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Sustainability 2016, 8(9), 915; doi:10.3390/su8090915

The Sustainability of Global Chain Governance: Network Structures and Local Supplier Upgrading in Thailand

1
and
2,*
1
Korea Environment Institute, 370 Sicheong-daero, Sejong 30147, Korea
2
Department of Urban Planning and Engineering, Yonsei University, 50 Yonsei-ro, Seodamun-gu, Seoul 03722, Korea
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Tin-Chih Toly Chen
Received: 29 July 2016 / Revised: 31 August 2016 / Accepted: 5 September 2016 / Published: 8 September 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competitive and Sustainable Manufacturing in the Age of Globalization)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [344 KB, uploaded 8 September 2016]   |  

Abstract

Although it has been widely accepted that insertion into global production networks may play a critical role in fostering local supplier upgrading, scholars have yet to fully incorporate heterogeneous configurations of buyer-supplier relationships within networks into empirical testing. Using a representative sample of manufacturing firms in Thailand, we propose a more nuanced empirical framework that asks which features of buyer-supplier relationships are related to which aspects of local supplier upgrading. Our findings, derived from latent class analysis, show that the ways value chains are governed can exert varying effects on different types of technological upgrading. Being a multinational corporation (MNC) supplier was found to have positive effects on process and minor product upgrading, irrespective of the types of buyer-supplier networks. However, we found a more radical type of upgrading (i.e., the development of own brands) to be negatively related to insertion into ‘quasi-hierarchical’ or ‘buyer-driven relationships’, whilst involvement in ‘cooperative networks’ was associated with a significantly higher tendency of product and brand upgrading. Understanding this inherent relationality provides a crucial balance to previous firm-level findings, suggesting that the sustainability of participation in global value chains depends on the relational structures in which local manufacturers are embedded. View Full-Text
Keywords: global production network; technological upgrading; network structure; sustainable industrial development; latent class analysis global production network; technological upgrading; network structure; sustainable industrial development; latent class analysis
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Cho, S.; Lim, U. The Sustainability of Global Chain Governance: Network Structures and Local Supplier Upgrading in Thailand. Sustainability 2016, 8, 915.

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