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Reshoring and insourcing: drivers and future research directions

Kai Foerstl (Supply Chain Management & Logistics, German Graduate School of Management and Law (GGS), Heilbronn, Germany)
Jon F. Kirchoff (Department of Marketing & Supply Chain Management, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, Unites States)
Lydia Bals (Supply Chain & Operations Management, University of Applied Sciences Mainz, Mainz, Germany)

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management

ISSN: 0960-0035

Article publication date: 6 June 2016




Reshoring and insourcing decisions have been discussed in the popular press, yet coverage of these topics in the academic literature is limited. The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, it seeks to develop a more complete understanding of the underlying drivers of reshoring and insourcing decisions and their permutations. Second, it seeks to provide directions for future research to further analyze the link between drivers and outcomes of the reshoring and insourcing phenomena.


This research follows a conceptual approach guided by transaction cost economics (TCE) and organizational buying behavior (OBB) theories. First, a theoretical framework of reshoring and insourcing decisions is developed. Next a comprehensive summary of reshoring and insourcing drivers is evaluated, yielding an in-depth discussion of future research directions (FRDs).


The analysis demonstrates that the framework can be utilized to explain recent insourcing and reshoring changes of firms and to help dismantle the external and organizational challenges associated with reshoring and insourcing decision making.

Research limitations/implications

Three FRDs are presented in the light of TCE and OBB. A fourth research direction highlights additional contextual factors outside the scope of these two theoretical lenses. These four research directions yield insightful implications for scholars and contribute to the emerging reshoring and insourcing literature.

Practical implications

The full array of potential reshoring and insourcing permutations are structured to allow for an elaboration of their respective drivers. Moreover, enablers and obstacles in implementing the multitude of combined reshoring and insourcing decisions are highlighted and summarized as contextual variables.


The concluding conceptual framework guides the evaluation of the reshoring and insourcing driver-outcome relationship across various value creation tasks and provides guidance to scholars and managers alike.



The authors would like to thank the editorial team and reviewers at IJPDLM for their valuable insights and constructive feedback during the review process. The authors also truly appreciate the suggestions and encouragement received at both the AOM and IPSERA conferences and were honored to have been nominated for the Carolyn Dexter Award (best international paper) at AOM 2015.


Foerstl, K., Kirchoff, J.F. and Bals, L. (2016), "Reshoring and insourcing: drivers and future research directions", International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 46 No. 5, pp. 492-515.



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