From mainstream to niche: how value regimes shift in emerging economy upgrading

Manning, Stephan (2022) From mainstream to niche: how value regimes shift in emerging economy upgrading. Research Policy, 51 (6). a104532 1-17. ISSN 0048-7333

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Abstract

Efforts of emerging economies to upgrade into global market capabilities are often conceptualized as either discrete choices or ongoing experiments. Mediating between these perspectives, this study uses the concepts of value regime and economic imaginary to examine micro-dynamics in upgrading. Based on the case of global business services in Kenya and South Africa, this study shows that upgrading efforts center around mainstream or niche value regimes which align local resources with specific demands and which are guided by economic imaginaries. These are shared theories of value creation and upgrading success which are linked to global discourses and which legitimize certain local investments while hindering others. Findings show how both Kenya and South Africa initially followed mainstream imaginaries according to which meeting global standards attracts clients and helps achieve scalable success. Misalignments with material realities later promoted niche imaginaries which focus on the value of local specificity and exclusiveness and which promoted the rise of impact sourcing and specialty services. Findings indicate how the interplay of material and discursive processes affects upgrading dynamics.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: University of Sussex Business School > Strategy and Marketing
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 30 May 2022 14:21
Last Modified: 30 May 2022 14:21
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/106191

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