Value Chains in a Global Context

In the last decades, the theoretical discourse and the empirical research constantly explore the dimensions of GVCs by highlighting the importance of this issue for economic development. However, benefits from being part of the GVC are not spontaneous, but conditional. Among other things, the success of this strategy will largely depend on the position and the role of actors in GVCs. Developing and emerging countries participate in GVCs with suppliers' role and access the developed countries markets. Extant GVC literature emphasizes on supplier upgrading in developing countries. The development potential of developing countries with the concept of continuous upgrading of the suppliers has limitations of being too much unidimensional. Developing countries need uniqueness in suppliers' development, which put them in a strategic position in existing GVCs.

At the same time, the suppliers from developing countries should generate the capabilities that may enable them to explore opportunities in the back and forth of their position in a particular GVC. In this area, research is conducted in two specific fields. i) The development of technology-intensive suppliers (TIS) − this particular subtheme explores the factors which determine the development of TIS in natural resource-based economies, and ii) Downgrading as bidirectional business strategy − from the perspective of developing and emerging economies.

Key research focus

  • Analysis of the framework conditions for the emergence of TIS in developing countries and fostering their integration to GVCs.
  • Conceptualization of downgrading as a complementary strategy for the suppliers to growth in the GVCs.
  • Analysis the downgrading impact on the emergence of alternative innovation paths, e.g. frugal innovation.


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Dr. Alba Valenciano Mané
Tel:   +49-(0)341-9739762
Fax:  +49-(0)341-9731139761