Quality Standards, Conventions and the Governance of Global Value Chains

Stefano Ponte*, Peter Gibbon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Convention theory helps refine our understanding of the governance of global value chains through its analysis of 'quality'. In this article, it is argued that global value chains are becoming increasingly 'buyer-driven', even though they are characterized by 'hands-off' forms of co-ordination between 'lead firms' and their immediate suppliers. This is because lead firms have been able to embed complex quality information into widely accepted standards and codification and certification procedures. As suggested by convention theory, their success in doing so has depended on defining and managing value chain-specific quality attributes that are attuned to broader narratives about quality that circulate within society more generally.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEconomy and Society
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)1-31
Number of pages31
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Global value chains
  • Convention theory
  • Governance
  • Quality
  • Standards

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