Book Projects

I have published four books, three as an author and one as a co-editor. I have also edited one special issue of a jorunal.  These publications are briefly outlined below. 


 My first book, Industrial Constructions: The Sources of German Industrial Power, (Cambridge   UniversityPress, 1996, Paperback 2000) examined the variety of industrial organizational and   governancearrangements that emerged during the process of German industrialization.

It argued in particular that there were two dominant patterns of regionally embedded industrial development in German history: an autarkic, vertically integrated pattern dominated by large firms and a decentralized, vertically disintegrated pattern, dominated by clusters of small and medium sized producers. The book showed how both patterns of industrialization were embedded in extra firm arrangements and policies for training, competition, finance, dispute resolution etc. Industrial Constructions traced the evolution of these two forms of “industrial order” over time. Development and change within and between both forms of industrial order involved a process of creative institutional and strategic re-composition by actors at many different levels. A central claim of the book is that Germany never had a single or unitary system of governance in the political economy. There are multiple logics of governance at work at every level. The “national business system” in Germany, in other words, is a composite system.



My second book, published by Oxford University Press in 2010, is entitled Manufacturing Possibilities: Creative Action and Industrial Recomposition in the U.S., Germany and Japan. This book, like the first one, is interested in problems of industrial development, governance and change. Also like Industrial Constructions, the new book adopts a strongly sociological and political orientation toward industrial processes, rather than a more narrowly economic one. The basic orientation of Manufacturing Possibilities is that industrial development is best understood very broadly as a process of socio-political recomposition. The book has extensive case studies of development and recomposition in the steel industry and in disintegrated manufacturing supply chains. Theoretically, the book makes a sustained case for the application of pragmatic theories of action and creativity to processes of political economic change.


For an in-depth discussion of Manufacturing Possibilities, see the exchange between Henry Farrell and me that appeared in Crooked Timber in 2011.  You can also download a pdf of the exchange, here.

For an extended discussion of Manufacturing Possibilities, see the Neil Gross’s recent “Pragmatism and the study of large scale phenomena” In Theory and Society, February 28, Volume 47, Issue 1, pages 87-111



My third and most recent  book is entitled Globale Qualitätsproduktion. Transnationale Produktionssysteme in der Automobilzulieferindustrie und im Maschinenbau. (Frankfurt aM:  Campus Verlag, 2017). The book is co-authored with Volker Wittke and Ulrich Voskamp of the SOFI Institut in Göttingen, Germany.

Globale Qualitätsproduktion  focuses on contemporary German manufacturing MNCs’ production globalization practices. It details the production strategies that German firms pursue off shore, and then, in turn, examines the consequences of that globalization for internal MNC governance and for home country production locations. We show that over the last ten years manufacturing MNCs have gradually but decisively shifted from an overwhelming reliance on exports to offshore production.  In large part, this shift involves less the reduction of exports as it does the expansion of offshoreproduction in large emerging markets like China, Brazil, India and Russia. The phenomenon is not exclusive to emerging markets, either:  same logic applies to German MNC expansion in the US as well.

Crucially, we show that this shift does not involve a significant reduction in either the quality or the sophistication of German goods in these offshore markets.  Rather, German producers have begun to construct sophisticated production clusters in off shore locations to maintain their competitiveness in foreign markets.  These clusters both complement and deplicate the clusters that German Auto and Machinery MNCs run in their home European location.  In most cases, the offshore clusters manufacture the same products (or some subset of the same products)  at the same level of quality in all global locations.  In a growing minority of cases,  new products are being developed in off shore markets for sale initially in those  markets, but gradually also, where appropriate and possible, in other markets as well.

In any case, in order to sustain sophisticated production in offshore markets, firms are forced to upgrade those locations with indigenous skilled workers, engineering talent and the cultivation of a sophisticated supply base.  Enormous amounts of engineering and design adaptation is needed locally to make German products appeal to local consumer tastes and be consistent with local standards and regulations.  As a result, German offshore production clusters are becoming increasingly sophisticated– in many ways they mirror operations that already exist in Germany– with large numbers of skilled direct production workers, growing numbers of engineers and technicians and organized and high quality tiers of (often themselves quite global) suppliers.

The book examines this globalization driven transformation from three points of view.  First, it presents case studies of German offshore expansion in both Eastern Europe and in China.  We followed several German firms in both the Automobile industry (including component suppliers) and in the machinery industry offshore and examined the way in which they are upgrading those operations.  Second, the book examines the way in which this global shift is affecting the internal global governance of German multinationals.  We show that firms are trying to balance global capacity, cost, innovation and learning in ways that leverage quality and competitiveness in all markets.  This has elevated formalized “corporate production systems” in significance across MNCs.  Such systems have an experimentalist character and, when they work well, are based on bottom up information sharing and continuous organization recomposition. Chapter 4 of the book, in particular, is devoted to an analysis of these systems, outlining their logic, describing principle mechanisms and actors and also pointing to an array of characteristic obstacles to the full diffusion of such practices within companies.

Finally, thirdly, the book also examines how these changes are affecting German home country production locations.  While the shift to offshore production does not threaten continued production in Germany (we show that the “produce where you sell” logic that is driving offshore upgrading also puts a brake on the migration of production away from Germany/Europe), it does have important implications for the demographic composition of home country workforces and for the spatial structure of production within Germany.  Specifically, upgrading offshore is generating a reduction of direct production workers within the German locations of MNCs and an expansion of the technician and engineering workforce.  At the same time, capacity pressures at home are creating pressure to segment production between in house and more precarious (lower wage and non-unionized) producers in Germany.  Both of these developments, we show in Chapter 5, pose significant challenges to German trade unions and for regional and national industrial policy actors.

Globale Qualitätsproduktion is empirically quite rich, but it is also conceptually innovative.  We argue that contemporary German political economy and economic and industrial sociology needs to understand globalization in a new way–in particular, they have to view traditional domestic German developments as being inseparably interconnected with developments in distant offshore markets.  German manufacturing is global and decisions made regarding German locations are conditioned by decisions made in offshore locations.  The book also points out that these shifts are affecting change in the German production model.  Much of the literature on the German model suggests that globalization and neoliberalism is giving rise to a core and periphery structure, where the old quality production system remains relatively unaffected within itself, but is being surrounded and supported by an array of increasingly precarious forms of employment and production forms.  We show that globalization is transforming the internal character of the old core itself.  Along the way, the book also makes an original  contribution to theories about Multinational governance and relations between home and subsidiary locations by developing the significance of global production systems in internal governance.

Review of Globale Qualitätsproduktion in Mitbestimmung

NOTE: Globale Qualitätsproduktion is published exclusively in German.  Non-German readers should see the following English language articles for theoretical and empirical argument covered in the chapters in the book :

Gary Herrigel, “Experimentalist Systems in Manufacturing Multinationals: German Automobile and Machinery Examples”, paper draft 2017

Gary Herrigel, “Globalization and the German industrial production model”   in Journal of Labour Market Research/Zeitschrift für Arbeitsmarktforschung, October 29, 2014  DOI 10.1007/s12651-014-0170-5)

Gary Herrigel, “Recent Trends in Manufacturing Globalization and Their Effects on the Distribution of R&D, Design, and Production within US, German and Japanese Automobile, Electro-Mechanical, Machinery and related Component MNCs”, Report to the European Commission Directorate General for Research and Innovation Directorate C: Research and Innovation Unit C2: Relations with the Stakeholders.  Paris, February 25, 2013

Gary Herrigel, Volker Wittke, Ulrich Voskamp, “The Process of Chinese Manufacturing Upgrading: Learning in Supply Chains and Through the Dynamics of FDI”  in the special issue: Strategic Modularity and the Architecture of the Multinational Firm in the Global Strategy Journal,  3: 109–125 (2013)

Gary Herrigel, Volker Wittke and Ulrich Voskamp, “Governance Architectures for Learning and Self-Recomposition in Chinese Industrial Upgrading ” in Gerald Berk, Dennis Galvan and Victoria Hattam, eds, Political Creativity: The Mangle of Institutional Order, Agency and Change (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013)


Edited Books/Journal Special Issues

I have also co-edited one book and edited one special issue of the business history journal, Enterprise and Society.


Americanization and its Limits: Reworking Management and Technology in Europe and Japan after World War II, (Oxford University Press, 2000). was edited together with Jonathan Zeitlin (then of the University of Wisconsin, now of the University of Amsterdam). Essays in this book analyzed the diffusion and selective adaptation of American management and technologies in Europe and Japan in the twenty years after World War II. My own essay looked at the reconstitution of the Steel Industry in Germany and Japan under US occupation in an effort to understand the interpenetration of ideas of industrial governance and organization with contending conceptions of democracy and political order.



This special issue of Enterprise and Society, which appeared in September 2007, highlights a new wave of historical scholarship on the matter of corporate governance in the US, Britain, Japan, France and Germany. My own introductory essay in this issue focused on the surprising heterogeneity of governance forms within national economies. Much of the literature on comparative governance tends to group national economies under unitary types, yet the new emerging historical literature shows that country experiences are far from unitary-different forms of governance often exist within the same country simultaneously. This is even more the case over time.