Global Commodity Chains: New Forms of Coordination and Control Among Nations and Firms in International Industries.

Authors: 
Publication Type: 
Journal Name: 
Volume: 
1
Number: 
4
Page Numbers: 
427-439
Published On: 
1996

This article builds on Whitley's comparison of the business systems and global commodity chains approaches to the study of economic organization within and across nations and regions. My objective is to provide a fuller exposition of the logic and evidence underlying the emergence, evolution, and variation in buyer-driven and producer-driven commodity chains. While there are clearly national differences within commodity chains, the idea that nations matter more than industrial sectors in generating contrasting forms of economic organization in global capitalism remains debatable. One of the central propositions of the commodity chains perspective is that globalization tends to diminish the influence of national origins on business systems. The way firms do business in the international economy thus is determined to an increasing extent by their position in global commodity chains, not their national origins. Nonetheless, because they highlight different units and levels of analysis, the business systems and commodity chains approaches are best viewed as complementary (rather than competing) theoretical frameworks.