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University of Essex

Seminars for 2017/18

24 April 2013: Outsourcing, Offshoring and the Global Factory: UPDATED (Management Science & Entrepreneurship Group)

Professor Roger Strange from School of Business, Management & Economics, University of Sussex

At 12:00 in GB.2.18.

Roger Strange
Abstract: Thirty years ago, the advanced economies of North America, Western Europe and Japan accounted for a large percentage of world GDP, trade and foreign direct investment. In 2012, the situation is rather different with an increasing proportion of global economic activity taking place in the emerging economies. The causes of this seismic shift in the international division of labour are well documented, but what is not so obvious is who owns and controls this ‘global factory’? One possibility is that the international fragmentation of production has been associated with a widening of corporate ownership on a global scale, with many more firms controlled by a more diverse set of owners in many different countries? If so, then the ‘global factory’ is no more than a convenient label for the international fragmentation of production. A second possibility is that firms from the advanced economies have offshored many of their value chain activities to the emerging economies, but these activities are still integrated (internalised) under common ownership within multinational enterprises (MNEs) notwithstanding their geographic dispersion? If so, then the ‘global factory’ concept is very much a reality. A third possibility is that this offshoring of activities has been accompanied by an outsourcing (externalisation) of some of the value chain activities to independent suppliers, Such externalisation involves not only a physical ‘slicing-up’ of the value chain and a change in its ownership, but often control of the value chain still resides with the ‘lead’ firm. Here again the ‘global factory’ concept is very much a reality notwithstanding the absence of central ownership. This lecture focuses on this third possibility, and considers the both the reasons for the growth of outsourcing over the past 30 years and the implications of this trend.

About the speaker

Roger Strange is Professor of International Business within the Department of Business & Management, and the convenor of the International Business research group. Before joining the University of Sussex, he was Professor of International Business at King’s College London, where he was formerly the Head of the Department.

Roger is Treasurer and a member of the Executive Committee of the UK & Ireland Chapter of the Academy of International Business (AIB-UKI), and the President-elect and UK Representative of the European International Business Academy (EIBA). He was the Chair and organiser of the 2007 Annual Conference of the AIB-UKI on ‘Corporate Governance and International Business’, and will chair the 2012 EIBA Annual Conference at the University of Sussex

Much of his empirical work has focused on the Asia-Pacific region (particularly Japan and China). He has spent two extended periods as a Foreign Visiting Professor at Osaka University, Japan (1987) and at Kobe University, Japan (1995-96) whilst on sabbatical, and has spent shorter periods at Nankai University, China (1992), Hangzhou Institute of Commerce, China (1994), Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China (1994), and the University of Hong Kong (2004). He is the author/editor of twelve books, and over sixty journal articles and book chapters.

Ticket information:
Free to attend but booking essential. Please email to reserve a seat.

This event is open to the general public.

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