Externalities in global value chains: Firm solutions for regulation challenges

Peter J. Buckley, Peter W. Liesch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research summary: Negative externalities in global value chains (GVCs) create challenges for regulation. We establish conditions under which firms are more likely to adapt their GVCs to rectify negative externalities that occur at global scale. Firms in GVCs vary in relation to their active involvement in attending to negative externalities in a predictable way, according to their awareness (A) of these externalities, motivation (M) to address them, and the capability (C) to do so. Firms in GVCs can self-correct imperfections by strategy changes, or new firms can be recruited into the GVC with the awareness, motivation, and the capability to attend to negative externalities. National governments may find these externalities to be a significant policy challenge, particularly when they extend across national jurisdictions. Managerial summary: Private mechanisms, through firm strategy or new entrants into an industry, can address negative externalities created in GVCs. The agency of GVC members is crucial in self-correction via awareness, driven by GVC integration; motivation to act, driven by GVC accountability; and the capability to implement the necessary changes, driven by GVC leadership. GVCs with more exchanges of knowledge and information among members will be more aware of the costs they generate on third parties. GVCs with members who are more involved with stakeholders and who prioritize CSR will have greater motivation to attend to their externalities, and larger GVCs that span national borders, dominated by a strong member, may be more capable of having greater influence on the externalities the GVC creates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)420-439
Number of pages20
JournalGlobal Strategy Journal
Issue number2
Early online date28 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2023


  • GVCs
  • firms
  • global strategy
  • multinational enterprises
  • negative externalities
  • policy


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