Ismail Gölgeci, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Aarhus University, Denmark
Dr. David M. Gligor, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of Mississippi, USA
Dr. Erkan Bayraktar, Ph.D., Professor, American University of the Middle East, Kuwait
Dr. Dursun Delen, Ph.D., Regents Professor, Oklahoma State University, USA
Change can be so profound and dislocating that it is challenging to distinguish disaster from opportunity (The Economist, 2020). The COVID-19 pandemic took the world by surprise and exposed the vulnerabilities of interconnected and interdependent global value chains. Defined as holistic systems and governance structures of business value creation and provision that involve multiple actors spanning across multiple countries as well as activities and resources that run both upstream and downstream (Gereffi, Humphrey, & Sturgeon, 2005), global value chains have been hailed as “the world economy’s backbone and central nervous system” (Cattaneo, Gereffi, & Staritz, 2010, p. 7). As such, the rise of global value chains has been considered virtually unstoppable due to greater emphasis on fragmentation and dispersion of business activities across the globe due to enabling technologies, regulative forces, increasing attention on core compentences, and growing externationalization of business activities (Kano, Tsang, & Yeung, 2020; Mcwilliam et al., 2019).
However, what started as a seemingly small-scale outbreak in December 2019 shook the world by the end of February 2020. Value chains were suddenly disrupted, triggering an accelerated rate of warnings by practitioners and scholars alike about the pitfalls of strong reliance on supply chains concentrated in China and its neighboring countries. During the COVID-19 pandemic, not only the movement of people but also the movement of goods across national boundaries came to nearly a complete halt. Many countries closed down their borders, and some even restricted value chain flows to facilitate the flow of medical supplies needed to meet the urgent needs for patient treatment, protection, and control (World Health Organization, 2020). These sudden developments occurred concurrently with a sudden and widespread surge in panic-buying, supply shortages, stockpiling, and price manipulations.
Nonetheless, while similar health-related crises and supply chain disruptions such as the cases of SARS, Ebola, and the Swine Flu epidemic have been experienced and dealt with before, the sheer size and the economic impact of COVID-19 pandemic puts it into a different class of socioeconomic consequences. The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to be an event that some experts compare to the Great Depression of 1929, WW2, and the Great Recession of 2008-09 in terms of its likely global impact and socioeconomic consequences (Gupta, 2020). A shock of this scale will create a discontinuous shift in the preferences and expectations of consumers, firms, and organizations. As such, it is quite likely that the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic will be significant, widespread, and long-term.
The end of commodities boom and decline in oil prices as a result of the Great Recession as well as recent trends of big data analytics (Sivarajah et al., 2017; Yasmin et al., 2020), digitalization (Schniederjans, Curado, & Khalajhedayati, 2020), blockchain (Chalmers, Matthews, & Hyslop, 2019), and shorter value chains (Kurpjuweit et al., 2019) have already been gradually altering global value chains. Socio-politically, there has been growing backlash against globalization and rising concerns over the social and economic sustainability of global chains (e.g., Clarke & Boersma, 2017). Economically, the rise of industry 4.0 (Bibby & Dehe, 2018; Fatorachian & Kazemi, 2018) and onshoring decisions that moved production and sourcing closer to the end-user (Clarke-Sather & Cobb, 2019) have been bucking the growth of global value chains. However, early signs in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic indicate that the transformation in global value chains will be exceedingly accelerated. For example, under the new reality, manufacturers are actively seeking new ways to diversify their value chains, reduce their dependence on any single country, and dramatically change the location of some of their sources (Wu, 2020). Likewise, The Economist (2020) reports that less globalization (particularly that of physical, material globalization) and greater reliance on emerging technologies are likely to be two major changes that the COVID-19 pandemic will force on businesses around the world.
That said, for the time being, current knowledge is not sufficient to comprehensively estimate the mid- and long-term influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on global value chains. The COVID-19 pandemic appears to have the potential to entirely restructure global value chains, as it already impacts the world on a global scale. Some effects can be short-term, but some of the shifts in human behavior will probably linger on generating a longstanding disruption that will shape businesses and global value chains for decades to come (Harari, 2020).
Against this background, we invite scholars to rethink what would be the new normal in global value chains. In particular, we are interested in promoting the scholarly exploration of the long-term and strategic -beyond immediate and operational- the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on global value chains. Thus, we seek new contributions that reimagine global value chains in view of the recent developments and unprecedented changes the world is currently undergoing.
Topic areas of interest
Through this call, we welcome scholars to submit their empirical, conceptual, and case study research papers. In particular, we encourage in-depth case studies that offer a thorough understanding of and first-hand insights into the challenges firms face and solutions they adopt amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Likewise, we seek papers that use secondary data as well as surveys and experiments to test and validate empirical and analytical models. Modeling and simulation-based papers are also welcome to explore the nature of the COVID-19 and analyze the impact of possible courses of action. Furthermore, the ongoing changes the business world faces as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic offers unique possibilities for natural experiments. Finally, conceptual papers and well-grounded theoretical pieces are welcome to open up the discourse on the new possibilities surrounding global value chains in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Questions of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:
- What are the new design requirements in global value chains that would withstand global pandemics and large-scale shocks?
- How can firms better integrate unforeseen and large-scale contingencies in their value chain design?
- How do businesses tackle the challenges of globalized knowledge transfer, product design, and blueprints in tandem with localized production in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic?
- How do the new realities of the post-pandemic world affect facility location decisions?
- How would the geographic scope of global value chains be defined in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and related insurgency of deglobalization?
- What is the impact of renewed protectionism across the globe on the extent and prevalence of global value chains?
- What type of new network configurations of global value chain governance, economic production, knowledge exchange, and resource allocation would emerge in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic?
- How far can global production and value chain processes be flexed without loss of efficiency?
- What are the alternative value chain design solutions to alleviate fragilities and vulnerable interdependence in global value chains?
- What are the underlying forces to support the diversification of global value chains?
- How can cross-sector collaboration (i.e., the collaboration between firms, government institutions, and non-governmental organizations) be imprinted in global value chains, managed, and leveraged in the face of global health crises?
- How can practitioners and policymakers interact in rethinking and redesigning global value chains to tackle grand societal challenges that emerge from new realities?
- What are the possible value chain design implications of global value chains’ potential shift away from China?
- How would changes in the transportation routes, hubs, and linkages as affected by the COVID-19 pandemic influence new ways of global value chain design?
- What is the role of digital value chain technologies in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and redesigning global value chains in its aftermath?
- How are the time and space dimensions of inter-organizational collaboration in global value chains affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and digitalization?
- What can value chain strategies and technologies offer a solution to the trade-off between integration and interdependence in global value chains?
Manuscripts should comply with the scope, standards, format, and editorial policy of the Journal of Business Research. All papers must be submitted through the official Journal of Business Research submission system (https://www.editorialmanager.com/JOBR/default.aspx) with clear selection indicating that the submission is for this Special Issue. Before submission, authors should carefully read over the journal’s “Guide for Authors”. The submission system will be open on 31 August 2020, and submissions are welcome up to and including 28 February 2021. As such, we welcome both early submissions (e.g., conceptual pieces, perspective papers, and case studies) for a speedy review process and publication and empirically more substantive papers (e.g., papers relying on primary and secondary quantitative data) before the stated deadline. Papers submitted to the Special Issue will be subjected to the normal thorough double-blind review process.
Deadline for paper submission: 28 February 2021
Deadline for notification of first decision: 30 May 2021
Final manuscripts decision: 31 October 2021
All queries about the special issue should be sent to the Guest Editors.