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The Multinational Head Office as a Joint Value Orchestrator: Managing the Global Factory

The Future Of Global Organizing

ISBN: 978-1-78560-423-2, eISBN: 978-1-78560-422-5

Publication date: 14 October 2015



We develop a concept of the global factory, first introduced by Buckley and colleagues (2004, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2014), as a stand-alone construct associated with significant predictive capacity, discuss dynamics of success of the global factory, and identify and analyze social mechanisms deployed by the lead firm head office.


We conceptualize the global factory as a form of a flagship network and augment internalization theory with insights from interorganizational networks research to explore the dynamics of the global factory’s origination and functioning.


We clarify under what conditions a global factory-type network is more likely to emerge and describe social mechanisms generated by the lead firm head office to help the global factory sustain itself and thrive. We argue that in order to benefit from potential efficiencies of the global factory, the lead firm head office must deploy combinations of social mechanisms. We further argue that the role of the lead firm head office is that of a joint value orchestrator and a social broker, in addition to the controlling intelligence function.

Research limitations

Future work on the global factory should include further conceptualization of social mechanisms deployed by the lead firm, exploration of operating mode heterogeneity within the global factory, and large-scale empirical research.

Practical implications

Lead firm managers should embrace the role of the joint value orchestrators and implement social mechanisms described in this chapter to facilitate smooth operation of the global factory.

Social implications

Global factory governance further increases multinationals’ geographic reach and market power; yet, it is not a universal recipe for market success, and therefore global factories’ power to shape the global economy should not be overestimated.


By linking the global factory to networks literature, we have suggested a novel way to view the concept and articulated more fully its underlying assumptions. Further research on the global factory will help advance our understanding of the dynamics of the global economy and the role of multinationals, their head offices, and their managers in shaping the economy.


Kano, L., Verbeke, A. and Drake, C. (2015), "The Multinational Head Office as a Joint Value Orchestrator: Managing the Global Factory", The Future Of Global Organizing (Progress in International Business Research, Vol. 10), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 315-340.



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