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What do we want to know about reshoring? Towards a comprehensive framework based on a meta-synthesis


This study aims to develop a framework for reshoring research, specifying the aspects encompassing a full case description. The article reports an analysis of existing case-based research focusing on manufacturing reshoring and the previous offshoring events, with the aim to advance the knowledge within the field through an accumulation process. The selected methodology to achieve this purpose is meta-synthesis, a type of meta-analysis applied to the analysis of qualitative data. The analyzed data are retrieved from a sample of 14 articles including cases of offshoring and subsequent reshoring processes. The sample represent the total population of articles published in peer-reviewed sources. By focusing on the analysis on the article level and the findings generated by the original authors, the study allowed to build a comprehensive framework to lead future reshoring research, as well as to demonstrate the suitability of the methodology in achieving knowledge accumulation even if the articles have different characteristics in terms of theoretical perspectives, unit of analysis, number of cases and context. In doing so, this study contributes to the field of reshoring and more widely to the operations and supply chain management field. Furthermore, this research generates many practical implications, by condensing all the evidences about manufacturing reshoring so far collected in one single study, thus providing examples of challenges and best-practices.

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Data are not provided, but the methodology thoroughly describes how to collect the same data.


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The authors would like to acknowledge the fundamental contribution provided by Professors Jan Olhager and Matteo Kalchschmidt, for their availability to discuss and suggest directions at every step of the research. In addition, the authors acknowledge the value of the feedback collected from scholars that attended the presentations of the paper at the 26th EurOMA conference in Helsinki and the 30th AiIG (Italian Association of Management Engineering) conference in Turin. Finally, the authors acknowledge the contribution of the two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and of the area editor who followed the process.

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The research was not funded by external entities.

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All the authors contributed equally to all the phases of the study development, from study conception and design until writing and revision. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Albachiara Boffelli.

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The authors have no conflicts of interests to disclose.

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Boffelli, A., Johansson, M. What do we want to know about reshoring? Towards a comprehensive framework based on a meta-synthesis. Oper Manag Res 13, 53–69 (2020).

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  • Manufacturing relocation
  • Offshoring
  • Backshoring
  • Meta-synthesis