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Proximity strategies in outsourcing relations: the role of geographical, cultural and relational proximity in the European automotive industry


  • Alexander SCHMITT


Trends towards international fragmentation of production and modular process technologies have increased the importance of proximity in the supply chain of sophisticated manufactured goods. Using a rich and novel data set for the European automotive industry, we simultaneously evaluate the relative importance of geographical, cultural and relational proximity in sourcing strategies. The estimates indicate that each dimension provides an independent benefit and also which measures have the largest relative importance. We also find that the positive effects attributed to some measures reflect past relationships rather than predict new ones. In particular, co-location and a low cultural distance should be interpreted as outcomes of a sourcing strategy, not as predictors for sourcing success. We investigate to what extent firms from different countries follow different strategies and which choices suppliers can make to boost their attractiveness as outsourcing partner.

Suggested Citation

  • Alexander SCHMITT & Johannes VAN BIESEBROECK, 2013. "Proximity strategies in outsourcing relations: the role of geographical, cultural and relational proximity in the European automotive industry," Working Papers of Department of Economics, Leuven ces13.02, KU Leuven, Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB), Department of Economics, Leuven.
  • Handle: RePEc:ete:ceswps:ces13.02

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    Cited by:

    1. Marina Papanastassiou & Robert Pearce & Antonello Zanfei, 2020. "Changing perspectives on the internationalization of R&D and innovation by multinational enterprises: A review of the literature," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 51(4), pages 623-664, June.
    2. Keith Head & Thierry Mayer, 2019. "Brands in Motion: How Frictions Shape Multinational Production," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 109(9), pages 3073-3124, September.
    3. Xiyao Xiang & Wei-Chiao Huang, 2019. "Does Distance Affect the Role of Nonlocal Subsidiaries on Cluster Firms’ Innovation? An Empirical Investigation on Chinese Biotechnology Cluster Firms," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 11(23), pages 1-18, November.
    4. Wang, Jue & Liu, Xiaming & Wei, Yingqi & Wang, Chengang, 2014. "Cultural Proximity and Local Firms’ catch up with Multinational Enterprises," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 1-13.
    5. Srivastava, Saurabh & Singh, Shiwangi & Dhir, Sanjay, 2020. "Culture and International business research: A review and research agenda," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(4).
    6. William Connell Garcia & Magdalena Kizior & Wouter Simons, 2020. "Analysing Automobile Industry Supply Chains," European Economy - Discussion Papers 2015 - 134, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    7. Zimmermann, Angelika & Ravishankar, M.N., 2016. "A systems perspective on offshoring strategy and motivational drivers amongst onshore and offshore employees," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 51(4), pages 548-567.
    8. Jiang, Guoliang Frank & Holburn, Guy L.F., 2018. "Organizational performance feedback effects and international expansion," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 48-58.
    9. Jorge MONGAY, 2017. "Market Economies Potentialities and Cultural Clusters. A Global and Longitudinal Study," Expert Journal of Economics, Sprint Investify, vol. 5(1), pages 1-13.
    10. Vincent Montenero, 2018. "Russia's Integration to the Globalized Automotive System: Solutions Adopted by Multinationals and Impact on the Local Industrial Environment," European Journal of Business Science and Technology, Mendel University in Brno, Faculty of Business and Economics, vol. 4(1), pages 31-47.
    11. Giovanna Magnani & Antonella Zucchella & Dinorà Eliete Floriani, 2015. "Relativity and asymmetry in distance. The role of strategic distance in the internationalization decisions of Brazilian and Italian firms," DEM Working Papers Series 111, University of Pavia, Department of Economics and Management.
    12. Sarianna M Lundan, 2018. "From the editor: Engaging international business scholars with public policy issues," Journal of International Business Policy, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 1(1), pages 1-11, June.
    13. Gábor Túry, 2018. "Consequences Of Technological Changes In The Automotive Industry – Perspectives Of The Central European Region As Part Of The Global Value Chains," Global Economic Observer, "Nicolae Titulescu" University of Bucharest, Faculty of Economic Sciences;Institute for World Economy of the Romanian Academy, vol. 6(2), pages 82-94, December.
    14. Magnani, Giovanna & Zucchella, Antonella & Floriani, Dinorá Eliete, 2018. "The logic behind foreign market selection: Objective distance dimensions vs. strategic objectives and psychic distance," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 1-20.
    15. Dodourova, Mariana & Bevis, Keith, 2014. "Networking innovation in the European car industry: Does the Open Innovation model fit?," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 252-271.
    16. Robert L. Bray & Juan Camilo Serpa & Ahmet Colak, 2019. "Supply Chain Proximity and Product Quality," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 65(9), pages 4079-4099, September.
    17. Najafi-Tavani, Zhaleh & Mousavi, Sahar & Zaefarian, Ghasem & Naudé, Peter, 2020. "Relationship learning and international customer involvement in new product design: The moderating roles of customer dependence and cultural distance," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 42-58.
    18. Blevins, Dane P. & Moschieri, Caterina & Pinkham, Brian C. & Ragozzino, Roberto, 2016. "Institutional changes within the European Union: How global cities and regional integration affect MNE entry decisions," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 319-330.
    19. Alessandro Manello & Giuseppe G. Calabrese & Piercarlo Frigero, 2016. "Technical efficiency and productivity growth along the automotive value chain: evidence from Italy," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(2), pages 245-259.

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