Dipartimento di Ingegneria Gestionale

International growth strategies, offshoring, reshoring and restructuring of the GVCs

About the project

Starting with the initial phases of the EU enlargement toward Central and Eastern Europe, the choices of firms related to delocalization of production phases in foreign countries and international fragmentation of production have been investigated by a research group at SoM. More recently, the Offshoring Research Network (ORN) was established as a global network of researchers and practitioners studying organizations in their transition to globalizing their business functions, processes and administrative services. The aim is to encourage knowledge improvements about the offshoring phenomenon concerning business function, through constant interaction between academics and entrepreneurs.

Principal Investigators:  Arie Lewin (Offshoring Research Network)

Funders: Free Research (with some funding)

Duration: 2004-2013- ongoing

Partners: Multiple


Companies from advanced countries are increasingly relocating to foreign countries not only manufacturing activities, but also business services, ranging from calla centers to R&D activities. Advances in ICT have driven this phenomenon, considered a pivotal element of the third industrial revolution. Foreign direct investments involving services are increasing despite the deep economic crisis. The term offshoring refers to the fragmentation and outsourcing in different countries of business activities along the value chain. This phenomenon causes the migration of jobs and raises concerns among media and policy makers for its potential negative effects, such as the rise of unemployment and the loss of core competencies in rich countries. At the same time, companies are facing an increasing competition on the international markets that require the source of new knowledge and competences, which often are not fully available in the home country. Our research aims at gaining a deeper understanding of the dynamics underlying the offshoring of business functions – with a special focus on entry mode choice, learning processes and performance implications – in order to help decision makers to implement effectively their global sourcing ventures. Additionally, we also study the recent phenomenon of reshoring, i.e. relocation of offshored activities either back to their home country or to new host countries, by inquiring both the drivers of this phenomenon (e.g. macroeconomic changes, performance shortcomings, political incentives) and the consequences in terms of reconfiguration of the global value chain.

Within this strand of research, also the economic effects of countries and firms’ participation to GVCs are analyzed.


  • Barbieri P., Elia S., Fratocchi L., Golini R. Relocation of second degree: Moving towards a new place or returning home?. Forthcoming on Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management
  • Albertoni, F., Elia, S., Piscitello, L. (2018). Inertial vs. mindful repetition of previous entry mode choices: Do firms always learn from experience?. Journal of Business Research, forthcoming.
  • Elia S., Massini, S., Narula, R. (2018). Disintegration, modularity and entry mode choice: Mirroring technical and organizational architectures in business functions offshoring. Journal of Business Research, forthcoming.
  • Tajoli, L., Felice, G. (2018), Global value chains participation and knowledge spillovers in developed and developing countries: An empirical investigation, European Journal of Development Research, Vol. 30, Issue 3, pp. 505-532.
  • Cingolani I., P. Panzarasa, L. Tajoli  (2017),  Countries’ positions in the international global value networks: Centrality and economic performance, DOI:10.1007/s41109-017-0041-4,  pp.2-21, Applied Network Science,  vol. 2.
  • Albertoni, F., Elia, S., Massini, S., Piscitello, L. (2017). The Reshoring of Business Services: Reaction to Failure or Persistent Strategy?. Journal of World Business, Vol. 52, No. 3, Pages 417–430.
  • Caniato, F., Elia, S., Luzzini, D., Piscitello, L., Ronchi, S. (2015). Location drivers, governance and performance in service offshoring. International Journal of Production Economics, Vol. 163: 189–199.
  • Horgos D.,  L. Tajoli (2015), How Offshoring Can Affect the Industries’ Skill Composition, Economies, vol. 3 (2), pp.72-99.
  • Falzoni A.M. , L. Tajoli (2015), International Fragmentation of Production and Trade Volatility: An Analysis for the European Countries, Modern Economy.
  • Elia S., Caniato F., Luzzini D., Piscitello L., (2014). Governance choice in global sourcing of services: the impact on service quality and cost saving performance. Global Strategy Journal, Vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 181–199.
  • Albertoni, F. and Elia S. (2014). The global sourcing of business services: evidence from the Offshoring Research Network survey. Journal of Industrial and Business Economics, Vol. 41 (2): 131-146


Copenhagen Business School (Prof. Torben Pedersen, and Prof. Bent Petersen), Manchester Business School (Prof. Silvia Massini), Netherlands RSM Erasmus University (Prof. Henk Volberda), ULB – Solvay Business School (Prof. Carine Peeters), WHU Otto Beisheim School of Management (Prof. Thomas Hutzschenreuter), IESE (Prof. Joan E. Ricart), Macquarie University (Prof. Stephen Chen), University of Tokyo (Prof. Takahiro Fujimoto and Prof. Youngwon Park), Kyung Hee University (Prof. Geon-Cheol Shin), Politecnico di Milano (Prof. Lucia Piscitello and Stefano Elia), EMLYON Business School (Prof. Christiane Prange), UNISINOS RS BRASIL (Prof. Yeda Swirski de Souza). Leading University: Duke University (Prof. Arie Lewin).