Managing and governing commodity chains: the role of producer service firms in the secondary global city of Hamburg

  • Christof Parnreiter Department of Geography, University of Hamburg, Bundesstr. 55 (Geomatikum), 20146 Hamburg, Germany Facultad de Economía, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Edificio B, 1er piso, Circuito Universitario s/n, Ciudad Universitaria Coyoacán, México, D.F., Mexico
Keywords: Producer service firms, global commodity chains, global cities, governance, Hamburg

Abstract

This paper is motivated by the observation that our understanding of global cities in Germany and beyond is limited because the practices through which producer service firms (PSFs) are involved in managing and governing their clients’ global commodity chains (GCCs) have barely been studied. Based on interviews with representatives of PSFs in the secondary global city of Hamburg, the paper scrutinises whether and how service professionals contribute to the functioning and the control of their clients’ cross-border operations. It also analyses why clients choose global PSFs located in Hamburg, and it discusses which place Hamburg occupies in the network of German global cities. The paper concludes that because PSFs fulfil management functions for their clients’ global operations Hamburg is, beyond the role of its port, a critical node in many GCCs. Secondly, PSFs influence their clients’ decision-making processes. They are part of economic governance processes, though this impact cannot be straightforwardly equated with ‘command and control’. The paper also confirms that (and explains why) the world city network is the spatial correlate of a globalising economy. Finally, there is no such a thing as a ‘global city hierarchy’ because the division of labour between the offices of PSFs is functional. As regards further research, a first task is to verify this paper’s findings through interviews with clients of PSFs to consolidate our knowledge on the role of PSFs in GCCs. Secondly, the contention that the world city network is flat has to be re-examined against the backdrop of an evident clustering of PSFs in specific cities. Finally, the discussion of whether and how PSFs are involved in the governance of their clients‘ GCCs needs to be continued and deepened.

References

Arbeitskreis Volkswirtschaftliche Gesamtrechnungen der Länder (Hrsg.) 2013: Bruttoinlandsprodukt, Bruttowertschöpfung in den kreisfreien Städten und Landkreisen der Bundesrepublik Deutschland 1992 und 1994

bis 2012. – Reihe 2, Band 1. – Herausgegeben im Auftrag der Statistischen Ämter der 16 Bundesländer, des Statistischen Bundesamtes und des Bürgeramtes, Statistik und Wahlen, Frankfurt a. M. vom Statistischen Landesamt Baden-Württemberg. – Stuttgart. – Online available at: https://www.destatis.de/DE/Publikationen/Thematisch/VolkswirtschaftlicheGesamtrechnungen/VGRderLaender/VGR_KreisergebnisseBand1.html;jsessionid=A56A5BA429A0275B3092019BD56A23C1.cae4, 19/01/2014

Beaverstock, J.V. 2011: German cities in the world city network. Some observations. – Raumforschung und Raumordnung 69 (3): 213-217

Beaverstock, J.V., M. Hoyler, K. Pain and P.J. Taylor 2005: Demystifying the euro in European financial centre relations:

London and Frankfurt, 2000-2001. – Journal of Contemporary European Studies 13 (2): 143-157

Brown, E., B. Derudder, C. Parnreiter, W. Pelupessy, P.J. Taylor and F. Witlox 2010: World city networks and global commodity chains: towards a world-systems’ integration. – Special Issue: World city networks and global commodity chains. – Global Networks 10 (1): 12-34

Coe, N.M., P. Dicken and M. Hess 2008: Introduction: Global production networks. Debates and challenges. – Journal of Economic Geography 8 (3): 267-269

Derudder, B. and C. Parnreiter (eds.) 2014a: Special issue: The interlocking network model for studying urban networks. – Tijdschrift voor economische en sociale geografie 105 (4): 373-506

Derudder, B. and C. Parnreiter 2014b: Introduction: The interlocking network model for studying urban networks: outline, potential, critiques, and ways forward. – Special issue: The interlocking network model for studying urban networks. – Tijdschrift voor economische en sociale geografie 105 (4): 373-386

GaWC 2014: The world according to GaWC 2012. – Online available at: http://www.lboro.ac.uk/gawc/world2012t.html, 01/11/2014

Gereffi, G. 1994: The organization of buyer-driven global commodity chains: How U.S. retailers shape overseas production networks. – In: Gereffi, G. and M. Korzeniewicz (eds.): Commodity chains and global capitalism. – Westport: 95-122

Girard, M. and D. Stark 2002: Distributing intelligence and organizing diversity in new-media projects. – Environment and Planning A 34 (11): 1927-1949

Grabher, G. 2002: Cool projects, boring institutions: Temporary collaboration in social context. – Regional Studies 36 (3): 205-214

Helbrecht, I. and P. Dirksmeier 2009: New Downtowns: eine neue Form der Zentralität und Urbanität in der Weltgesellschaft. – Themenheft: New Downtowns. – Geographische Zeitschrift 97 (2/3): 60-76

Hesse, M. 2006: Global chain, local pain: Regional implications of global distribution networks in the German North Range. – Growth and Change 37 (4): 570-596

Hoyler, M. and K. Pain 2002: London and Frankfurt as world cities: changing local-global relations, 1998-2001. – In: Mayr, A., M. Meurer und J. Vogt (Hrsg.): Stadt und Region:

Dynamik von Lebenswelten, Tagungsbericht und wissenschaftliche Abhandlungen. – 53. Deutscher Geographentag, Leipzig, 29. September bis 5. Oktober 2001. – Leipzig: 76-87

Hoyler, M. 2011: German cities. – In: Taylor, P.J., P. Ni, B. Derudder, M. Hoyler, J. Huang and F. Witlox (eds.): Global urban analysis. A survey of cities in globalization. – Oxford: 224-230

Hoyler, M. 2011: External relations of German cities through intra-firm networks. A global perspective. – Raumforschung und Raumordnung 69 (3): 147-159

Jacobs, J. 1970: The economy of cities. – New York

Jacobs, W., C. Ducruet and P. de Langen 2010: Integrating world cities into production networks: the case of port cities. – Special Issue: World city networks and global commodity chains. – Global networks 10 (1): 92-113

Keil, R. and K. Ronneberger 2000: The globalization of Frankfurt am Main: core, periphery and social conflict. – In: Marcuse, P. and R. van Kempen (eds.): Globalizing cities: a new spatial order? – Oxford: 228-248

Kleibert, J. 2014: On the map, but in which capacity? Exploring relations of power and control in Manila’s offshore service industry. – Paper presented at the ARL Summer School – Global Urban Networks, Loughborough, 2 September 2014

Krätke, S. 2001: Berlin: Towards a global city? – Urban Studies 38 (10): 1777-1799

Lüthi, S., A. Thierstein and V. Goebel 2010: Intra-firm and extra-firm linkages in the knowledge economy: the case of the emerging mega-city region of Munich. – Special issue: World city networks and global commodity chains. – Global Networks 10 (1): 114-137

OECD 2005: Glossary of Statistical terms. – Online available at: http://stats.oecd.org/glossary/detail.asp?ID=6778, 01/11/2014

Oßenbrügge, J. 2011: Der Wirtschaftsraum Hamburg im Globalisierungsprozess – Gegenwärtiger Strukturwandel und Globalisierungspolitik. – In: Parnreiter, C. (Hrsg.): Stadt und Globalisierung. – Hamburger Symposium Geographie 3. – Hamburg: 27-44

Parnreiter, C. 2010: Global cities in global commodity chains: exploring the role of Mexico City in the geography of global economic governance. – Special issue: World city networks and global commodity chains. – Global Networks 10 (1): 35-53

Parnreiter, C. 2013: The global city tradition. – In: Acuto, M. and W. Steele (eds.): Global city challenges. Debating a concept, improving the practice. – Basingstoke: 15-32

Parnreiter, C. 2014: Network or hierarchical relations? A plea for redirecting attention to the control functions of global cities. – Special issue: The interlocking network model for studying urban networks. – Tijdschrift voor economische en sociale geografie 105 (4): 398-411

Sassen, S. 2001: The global city. – 2nd ed. – Princeton et al.

Sassen, S. 2010: Global inter-city networks and commodity chains: any intersections? – Special issue: World city networks and global commodity chains. – Global Networks 10 (1): 150-163

Schamp, E.W. 2001: Der Aufstieg von Frankfurt/Rhein-Main zur europäischen Metropolregion. – Geographica Helvetica 56 (3): 169-178

Schipper, S. 2013: Global-City-Formierung, Gentrifizierung und Grundrentenbildung in Frankfurt am Main. – Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftsgeographie 57 (4): 185-200

Smith, R.G. and M.A. Doel 2011: Questioning the theoretical basis of current global-city research: Structures, networks and actor-networks. – International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 35 (1) 24-39

Taylor, P.J. 2001: Specification of the world city network. – Geographical Analysis 33 (2): 181-194

Taylor, P. 2004: World city network. A global urban analysis. – London

Taylor P.J., B. Derudder, M. Hoyler, K. Pain and F. Witlox 2011: European cities in globalization. – In: Taylor, P.J., P. Ni, B. Derudder, M. Hoyler, J. Huang and F. Witlox (eds.): Global urban analysis. A survey of cities in globalization. – Oxford: 114-136

Verhetsel, A. and S. Sel 2009: World maritime cities: From which cities do container shipping companies make decisions? – Transport Policy 16 (5): 240-250

World Shipping Council 2013: Top 50 world container ports. – Online available at: http://www.worldshipping.org/about-the-industry/global-trade/top-50-world-container-ports, 01/11/2014

Published
2015-02-16
How to Cite
Parnreiter, C. (2015). Managing and governing commodity chains: the role of producer service firms in the secondary global city of Hamburg. DIE ERDE – Journal of the Geographical Society of Berlin, 146(1), 1-15. https://doi.org/10.12854/erde-146-1
Section
Research articles