Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine, and present a comprehensive review of, the existing literature on the international manufacturing network (IMN). Design/methodology/approach – The original data set used for reviewing the IMN literature consisted of 107 articles selected from 21 journals: more specifically, 40 articles are concerned with plant-level analysis, and 67 articles are related to IMN-level analysis. The literature is simultaneously reviewed by two researchers. The relevance and contribution of each reviewed paper is discussed and mutually agreed upon. Findings – The paper highlights the different concepts related to IMN and traces the evolution of IMN-related research. Based on two levels of analysis (i.e. plant and network), this paper further reviews and discusses the IMN-specific literature in detail to determine the number of IMN articles published across the journals, the dominant methodologies employed, and the research focus reflected in IMN studies. A research trajectory is finally developed to provide an integrated and intuitional view on the development of IMN research. Originality/value – This is the first effort that has been made towards thoroughly investigating the existing literature on IMN, aiming to trace different concepts related to IMN from a historical perspective, to review and discuss the IMN-specific literature in detail, to provide an overview of the evolution trajectory of different existing IMN research themes, and to propose future research directions. Keeping in mind the growing importance of IMN for practitioners as well as the academic community, this study provides a timely overview of existing and emerging IMN research themes.
International Journal of Operations & Production Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Mar 2, 2015
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