Title: Bringing social relations back in: (re) conceptualising the 'Bullwhip Effect' in global commodity chains

Authors: Ben Selwyn

Addresses: Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Southampton, University Road, Southampton, SO17 1BJ, UK

Abstract: Contemporary economic globalisation is characterised by the global dispersal of production and sourcing, the spread of new |lean| management techniques and the speeding up and expanding scale of international forms of interaction. These processes are regularly described and analysed in techno-managerial terms, especially within much global supply chain and global commodity chain literature. As a consequence, there is often an (implicit or explicit) assumption of a zero-sum relationship between capital mobility and labour|s bargaining power. Within supply chain literature, the concept of the |Bullwhip Effect| (BWE) refers to a situation where a small disruption in one part of the chain is magnified elsewhere in the chain. This article argues that the concept of the BWE can be re-conceptualised as a valuable took with which to investigate claims of labour|s weakness, and that it can also help |bring social relations back in| to much globalisation analysis.

Keywords: BWE; bullwhip effect; global commodity chains; globalisation; labour; social relations of production; supply chains; supply chain management; SCM; employee welfare.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMCP.2008.021272

International Journal of Management Concepts and Philosophy, 2008 Vol.3 No.2, pp.156 - 175

Available online: 14 Nov 2008 *

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