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A Typology of plants in global manufacturing networks

Author: Vereecke, Ann ; Van Dierdonck, Roland ; De Meyer, ArnoudINSEAD Area: Technology and Operations ManagementIn: Management Science, vol. 52, no. 11, November 2006 Language: EnglishDescription: p. 1737-1750.Type of document: INSEAD ArticleNote: Please ask us for this itemAbstract: 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 the authors' 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. The authors' 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. Their 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.
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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 the authors' 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. The authors' 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. Their 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.

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