Additive manufacturing and the global factory: Disruptive technologies and the location of international business

Martin Hannibal, Gary Knight*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Citations (Scopus)


Additive manufacturing (AM) is an emergent technology that is shifting the nature of production, sourcing, and other value-chain activities. AM has the potential to substantially disrupt the structure and operations of international business. In this paper, we leverage the global factory concept (e.g., Buckley & Ghauri, 2004) to frame our discussion of the likely impact of AM on global production. We identify and conceptualize specific variables and relationships to offer a nuanced explanation that highlights the potential re-distribution of global production at four levels of analysis – global, country, local area, and household. We propose how key variables – Intellectual Property Status, Industrial Standards, Branding, Aesthetics, Authenticity, Material Type, Complexity, Customization, Size, Logistical Complexity, Delivery Timeliness, Demand, Access, and Technical Competence – likely will impact localization of production. We examine industries and production activities likely to be most affected by AM. We conclude with a discussion of managerial and practical implications and identify avenues for further research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1116-1127
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Business Review
Issue number6
Early online date16 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


  • Additive manufacturing
  • Disruptive technology
  • Distributed digital manufacturing
  • Global factory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Finance
  • Marketing

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Additive manufacturing and the global factory: Disruptive technologies and the location of international business'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Profiles

    No photo of Gary Knight

    Gary Knight

    Person: Academic

    Cite this