Restructuring and reconfiguration

Ian M. Taplin (Wake Forest University, Winston‐Salem, North Carolina, USA Bordeaux Business School, Bordeaux, France)

European Business Review

ISSN: 0955-534X

Publication date: 1 May 2006



To examine how the textile and clothing industries, both of which retain a significant employment presence in the EU, have responded differently to heightened overseas competition and changes in buyer‐supplier relations.


The paper uses macro‐descriptive statistics to determine key EU industry trends and provide an analysis of how institutional backgrounds can shape industry trends.


Clothing proves more robust in retaining an employment presence than the more capital‐intensive textile sector. This is surprising since labour‐intensive industries are expected to suffer more from intensified global competition than capital intensive ones. Job losses continue in both sectors but firms are innovating in restructuring practices to remain competitive and responsive to buyer pressures. Technological innovation and the pursuit of niche markets plus increased outsourcing are key responses.

Research limitations/implications

Few studies offer an overview of industry trends and whilst this study offers a comparative, mainly cross‐sectional analysis, it nonetheless provides a context for more detailed country‐specific analyses.


The paper provides useful data of relevance to public policy specialists, managers in this and related industries, plus academics studying industrial restructuring and responses to heightened competitive pressures throughout the value chain in a labour‐intensive industry.



Taplin, I. (2006), "Restructuring and reconfiguration", European Business Review, Vol. 18 No. 3, pp. 172-186.

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Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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