Publication Type

Journal Article

Version

Publisher’s Version

Publication Date

11-2006

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to propose a new, empirically derived typology of plants in the international manufacturing network of multinational companies. This typology is based on the knowledge flows between the plants. In our research, network analysis has been used as a methodology for understanding the position of plants in international manufacturing networks. The focus has been primarily on the intangible knowledge network, and secondarily on the physical, logistic network. Our analysis leads to four types of plants with different network roles: the isolated plants, the receivers, the hosting network players, and the active network players. Our analysis shows that the different types of plants play a different strategic role in the company, have a different focus, and differ in age, autonomy, and level of resources and investments. Also, the analysis suggests that the evolution of the plant depends to some extent on the network role of the plant. Finally, two scenarios for the development of a strong network role are identified. The research is useful for the scholar studying the architecture of knowledge networks, as well as for the practitioner who is in charge of an international network of manufacturing units.

Keywords

manufacturing strategy, knowledge management, international manufacturing, plant networks

Discipline

Business Administration, Management, and Operations | International Business

Research Areas

Operations Management

Publication

Management Science

Volume

52

Issue

11

First Page

1737

Last Page

1750

ISSN

0025-1909

Identifier

10.1287/mnsc.1060.0582

Publisher

INFORMS

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