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October 4, 2017


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Teresa da Silva Lopes, Professor of International Business and Business History at York Management School, visited Universidad de los Andes School of Management as part of the Corona Chair program. She shared with faculty the results of her most recent paper: “Competing in Global Value Chains: From Commodities to Brands".

In the research, da Silva Lopes explains how businesses with multinational activity changed the dynamics and power relations within global value chains, just by branding goods usually considered to be commodities.

Some businesses adopted innovative organizational forms, with the location of their legal headquarters often distinct from the location of the main stakeholders, and also the location of the top management, therefore contrasting with the organizational forms of conventional businesses where the three functions tend to be located in the same place. Also businesses operating in global commodity trading often chose different levels of vertical integration within the value chains. Some opted to be almost totally vertically integrated, concentrating all the activities from procurement, production, to transportation and commercialization of the branded goods. Others only concentrated on a smaller number of such activities within global value chains. Professor da Silva Lopes differentiated the value added by different types of firms in distinct industries, and discussed the potential profits and revenues they generated as a result of their adoption of such organizational forms and also the branding of their commodities.

To illustrate her argument Teresa da Silva Lopes focused essentially on port wine (from Portugal), Erva-Mate (from Brazil), Cocoa (she focused on Africa), and bananas (from Colombia). For example, she showed how in the case of port wine, the merchants created brands in the eighteenth century and formed different types of alliances and networks with both producers in the Douro region and with distributors in foreign markets. The use of brands in wines, which were until then commodities had great impact not just at the level of activity of businesses individually, but ultimately also impacted on the industry, through spillover effects, and on the home country’s economy, remaining a key export from Portugal well into the twentieth century.

The research also shows that, by creating brands in global commodity chains, businesses with multinational activity have made the world a different place. At micro level businesses were able to increase their power and reputation within those chains. At country level and also at industry level, businesses often had multiple economic, political and social and cultural impacts. They also improved countries’ balances of trade, developed new industries, created new jobs and ultimately contributed to the globalization of markets. Additionally they often had political impact by, for example, contributing to the emancipation of certain regions. And they also had social and cultural impact in areas such as corporate social responsibility, sustainability, climate change and human rights.

The creation of brands in global commodity chains particularly helped developing countries to escape what several academics call the "resource curse" (several studies show that the more natural resources the country has, the less economic growth it tends to have). This contribution was not only achieved indirectly with the supply of inputs for the development of technology-based industries in more advanced countries, but also directly through helping developing countries, producers of such commodities, to strengthen their global value chain participation. The added value obtained through the branding of commodities internationally could be the first step to stimulate economic growth and develop industries in these nations.

Professor da Silva Lopes was invited by the Uniandes Professor Andrea Lluch. Lluch explained that the invited professor, apart from giving the Corona's Chair lecture, also held multiple meetings with the Grupo Historia y Empresariado and Historia del Mercadeo "Teresa da Silva Lopes' gave the GHE group an unique opportunity to discuss and get top-tier feedback on their current research projects and ideas for new research in the area Gestión y Políticas Públicas" assured Lluch. 


Professor Teresa da Silva Lopes is in the process of designing a research project with Andrea Lluch and both have been working on writing an article and a book chapter on the subject of imitation of trademarks during the first global economy. During the visit they worked on completing the design of this project and on their joint-contributions.

“This visit is particularly relevant for the GHE yet also for other colleagues at the school (e.g., marketing area, international business). Teresa da Silva Lopes has an outstanding professional profile on topics such as marketing and branding, internationalization of business, economic and business history”, stated Professor Lluch.

Teresa da Silva Lopes has a PhD in Economics in 2002 from the University of Reading and currently is Professor of International Business and Business History at the University of York, United Kingdom. She is also the Director of the Centre for the Evolution of Global Business and Institutions (CEGBI), and Head of the Marketing Group. She is the former President of the Association of Business History (ABH, UK), is President Elect of the Business History Conference (BHC, US), and is a member of the Council of the European Business History Association (EBHA).

Professor da Silva Lopes is on the editorial boards of top-tier journals Business HistoryEnterprise & Society, and Journal of Historical Research in Marketing. She is currently a Peer Review Assessor for the Australian Research Council and an Outer Board Member of the Irish Research Council. She is also an associate Member of the John Dunning Centre for International Business, a member of The Centre for Globalization Research (CGR) at Queen Mary, University of London, a research associate of the Centre for International Business History and Centre for Institutional Performance at the University of Reading, and an Associate of the Institute of Railway Studies and Transport History. In short, she has an incredible academic network, an outstanding publication profile and ample experience of several topics (marketing, internationalization of business, and business and economic history) that are relevant not only to the GHE group, but also to other UASM’s faculty and students.

Read 1711 times Last modified on Wednesday, 17 January 2018 16:30


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