Handbook on Global Value Chains
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Handbook on Global Value Chains

Edited by Stefano Ponte, Gary Gereffi and Gale Raj-Reichert

Global value chains (GVCs) are a key feature of the global economy in the 21st century. They show how international investment and trade create cross-border production networks that link countries, firms and workers around the globe. This Handbook describes how GVCs arise and vary across industries and countries, and how they have evolved over time in response to economic and political forces. With chapters written by leading interdisciplinary scholars, the Handbook unpacks the key concepts of GVC governance and upgrading, and explores policy implications for advanced and developing economies alike.
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Chapter 21: Firm-level strategy and global value chains

Mari Sako and Ezequiel Zylberberg


This chapter draws on three branches of management studies – corporate strategy, technology strategy and institutional strategy - in order to develop a framework aimed at analysing and predicting the nature and structure of global value chains (GVCs). First, corporate strategy informs how firms shape GVC governance by making decisions about their boundaries (what to make and what to buy) and their portfolio of trading partners. Second, technology strategy, particularly the profiting from innovation framework, provides insights into how firms capture the value they create when upgrading, by owning or accessing specialized complementary assets. Third, institutional strategy is a useful tool for analysing how firms proactively influence the institutions that govern economic transactions in global value chains. These approaches help GVC research to account for firm-level agency, which contributes to the framework’s theoretical rigour and its relevance for policymakers and managers.

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