Subsidiary upgrading and global value chain governance in the multinational enterprise
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionGlobal Strategy Journal. 2020, 10 (3), 496-519. 10.1002/gsj.1387
Upgrading and governance in global value chains (GVCs) have been understood mainly through studying the buyer–supplier transaction, where the supplier is typically an independent contractor from a developing economy. Little is known about how subsidiaries of multinational enterprises (MNEs) can upgrade in a GVC, whose core activities are coordinated through the “hierarchy” governance model. Using an in‐depth longitudinal single case study in the medical devices industry, we explain how a subsidiary can accomplish upgrading in an intra‐MNE GVC and, over time, increase its control of this GVC reaching a joint coordinator role for its governance. Our findings show that partaking in innovation may not be the final stage of a subsidiary's upgrading but can represent the start of a new phase that culminates with joint coordination of the GVC.