Firm Strategies and Restructuring in a Globalising Economy

Publication: Working/Discussion PaperWorking Paper/Preprint


The past decades have seen severe sectoral and spatial shifts of industry. By some scholars these were interpreted as "break-down" of traditional core - periphery structures, others saw the emergence of a new regional growth model, such as the industrial district or the networked region. Underlying these phenomena are strategic and organisational responses of firms to a rapidly changing environment.
Since the 1980s there was a certain catching up of some of the newly industrialising countries as well as an increasing interdependence between the countries of the "Triad" (Europe, USA, Japan) leading to a reinforced competition in a variety of industries. Firms in advanced countries react through various strategies such as the search for cost advantages, for technological advantages and/or for advantages of flexibility. As a consequence we observe "old" forms of restructuring such as rationalisation, automation and relocations to low cost areas, but also "new" forms
such as "lean production", just-in-time concepts, as well as new "interactive" ways of innovating. The variety of these strategies implies rather complex spatial outcomes
and precludes simple generalisations. There is neither a break-down of traditional divisions of labour nor a hegemonic new model. What we do observe are partly
modifications of old forms, such as spatial divsions of labour at larger spatial scales, coexisting with new forms such as localised networks.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1995

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