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

Sungchul Cho, Up Lim
2016 Sustainability  
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
more » ... ier 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.
doi:10.3390/su8090915 fatcat:5zgy5g4znfbgnmj4e5vwb5cbem