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date: 02 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article surveys the state of international scholarly debate on inter-firm relations in global manufacturing. It focuses on the evolving strategies of customers and suppliers within the value chains of core manufacturing industries, such as motor vehicles and complex mechanical engineering products. The analysis is divided into three parts. The first part discusses the historical emergence of clustered, flexible, and/or vertically disintegrated production since the 1980s. The second part addresses the globalization of disintegrated production. The third part analyses interactions between production in developed and developing regions, together with the evolution of small- and medium-sized firms strategies in high-wage regions in response to the resulting challenges and opportunities. The concluding section considers the implications of these developments for power and inequality in global supply chains.

Keywords: inter-firm relations, global manufacturing, motor vehicles, mechanical engineering, globalization

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