Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Papers in Innovation Studies,
Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy

No 2015/45: A Case Study on Multinational Companies’ Global Innovation Networks and Global Production Networks: Toward a Theoretical Conceptualisation

Ju Liu ()
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Ju Liu: CIRCLE, Lund University

Abstract: The recent wave of globalisation has been characterised not only by an increased number of cross-border production networks of multinational companies (MNCs) but also by an increasing number of their cross-border innovation networks. However, the differences, commonalities, and interaction between a MNC’s global innovation network (GIN) and global production network (GPN) have not been theoretically and empirically clarified. Using case study and social network analysis, this paper simultaneously captures the network characteristics of the case MNCs’ GINs and GPNs. It finds that the case MNCs’ GINs and GPNs 1) interact; 2) are different in terms of network composition and network centralisation; 3) are similar in terms of pattern of ties; nevertheless, 4) the interaction, the differences and the commonality clearly present firm or industrial differences. The paper argues that theoretically considering GIN and GPN as two different but interwoven layers of a MNC’s global value creation network may provide better conceptual clarity for reality interpretation and theoretical development. It suggests knowledge base perspective in future research for better understanding the dynamics of MNCs’ GINs and GPNs.

Keywords: global innovation network; global production network; multinational companies; Social network analysis

JEL-codes: F61; M16; O32

25 pages, December 2, 2015

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