The purposes of this article are to provide a brief overview of the research on international manufacturing networks (IMNs), identify corresponding gaps and provide background for the papers published in this special issue. First, this article shows the importance of addressing the management of IMNs, especially in times of global turbulence as a result of new economic, political and technological trends. Second, it highlights research into the management of IMNs as a missing link in the Operations Management (OM) discipline, as most of the current OM research neglects the fact that the internal structures and relationships of multi-plant organizations inside firms play a critical role in how a supply chain/network operates and relies mostly on scholars in other fields for insights into high-level and strategic issues in the management of global operations. Finally, this article argues there is still a lot to do in order to develop new theories towards the total management of global networks that can holistically analyze different global (intra- and inter-firm multi-functional) networks and address the complex interdependencies between them.
- global operations
- international manufacturing network
- total management of global networks