Global Value Chain Strategy & Development Discussion


Global Value Chain Strategy & Development Discussion


Individual assessment 

Individual Essay, 3500 words essay covers 50% of the module mark. The Essay aims to deepen student’s knowledge and critical understanding of one of the core themes covered in the module including governance, strategy from the perspective of lead firms or/and suppliers, supplier capability development, economic and social upgrading, decent work conditions, gender dynamics and institutional environment shaping GVCs. Following are a some of suggested topic questions/essay statements.

  1. GVC inter-firm governance typology (as developed by Gereffi et

al., (2005)) appropriately captures the heterogeneity of institutional, industry, and firm-level dimensions of GVCs. Discuss.

  1. Private and public standards play a significant role in driving

economic and social upgrading in global value chains. Discuss.

  1. Multinational enterprises have the strategic resources and power to orchestrate large and complex GVCs. Discuss 
  2. Supplier upgrading in GVCs is mainly dependent upon their

internal agencies, capabilities and strategic intentions. Discuss.

  1. The emergence of industry 4.0, including 3D printing, automation and big data have radically shifted the power dynamics of GVCs. Discuss.
  2. The institutional environment in developing countries constraints

domestic firms to lead their own global or regional value chains. Discuss.

  1. The responsibility for decent work conditions and gender equality

in GVCs lies primarily with firms employing the workers rather than

the lead firms. Discuss.  Global Value Chain Strategy & Development Discussion

Students can choose ONE of the above topic questions/essay statements, or if the student would like to write an essay on a different topic question/essay statement, then students have the freedom to develop their own essay statement/question. This statement/question can also emerge from the insights of your chosen sector or/and mapped GVC. 

Questions to be addressed in each part of the Essay and suggested structure 

The Essay will be structured into Introduction, Main Body and Conclusion.

Introduction (10%) o Describe the importance of the topic to global value chains, o Establish your position

▪ Comment on the topic or title – whether you agree or disagree with

the statement and why

▪ E.g. “Private standards may lead to economic upgrading but

constraint social upgrading and decent working conditions because – summarise the argument.

o Define the key terms and concepts (private standards, social upgrading, economic upgrading etc.)

o Methodology: Few lines on the main sources/literature/database to write this Essay

o Direct the reader by stating which aspects of the topic you intend to cover and why

Discusses the theoretical understanding of the selected theme from a critical perspective (60% of the overall marks). Students should draw upon academic and non-academic literature to develop a critical perspective on the chosen theme.

o What is the big idea/main argument of the Essay. Introduce the main argument

▪ Explain the argument that private standards may lead to economic

upgrading but constraint social upgrading

▪ Discuss the theoretical rationale from different theoretical

perspectives (e.g. GVC governance perspective, Institutional perspective, Resource-based perspective etc.)

o Define and discuss the key concepts related to the argument (e.g. private standards, economic upgrading, social upgrading etc.)

o Provide evidence in support of your main arguments (See below)  Global Value Chain Strategy & Development Discussion

Types of evidence: 

  • Using Empirical evidence (Essential evidence – you have to discuss the empirical literature)

o Providesomeacademicresearchevidencethatsupportsyour main argument

o E.g. the empirical link between private standards and economic upgrading

  • Using real-world examples (Recommended evidence – you are recommended but your marks wont be affected if you dont)

o Providerelevantexamplesfromseminarexercises,newspaper articles, cases, or other real-world examples

o E.g. MNEs working with NGOs to control and coordinate value chains

  • Using maps, diagrams, and numerical data (Optional evidence-your marks won’t be affected if you don’t present the evidence)

o You may provide statistical figures or related qualitative data through institutional (WTO, UNCTAD) essays etc. supporting the main argument.

Discuss the managerial and/or policy implications of the core issues (25%). You can discuss 

o Threemanagerialorpolicyimplications OR

o Two managerial implications and One policy implication OR

o One managerial implication and Two policy implications

Example – since private standards constraint social upgrading, supply- chain managers in the labour-intensive industry need to work along with the CSR department to develop standards that encourage both economic and social upgrading (Managerial)

Example – since private standards in Bangladesh does not encourage social upgrading of workers in garment factories, the government of Bangladesh needs to play an active role in negotiating and facilitating practices that reduce the gap between well-intended standards and beneficial outcomes for workers (Policy). Global Value Chain Strategy & Development Discussion

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