28th International Gerpisa Colloquium / Call for papers / Virtual conference


Due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, we are cancelling the planned June 2020 joint GERPISA/PVMI conference in Detroit.

A virtual conference will be held instead (see here for details) and we plan to organize a event with a similar structure in Detroit in June 2021, with the exact dates to be determined once the schedule for the North American International Auto Show are set.

We apologize for any inconvenience that entails. GERPISA plans to organize an event in Paris in January 2021 that will include remembrances of Michel Freyssenet. Again, details are pending.

Call for papers 28th Gerpisa International Colloquium

22 June - 3 July 2020
Virtual conference
Bruce Belzowski (Automotive Futures, University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, retired)
Thomas Klier (Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago)
John Paul MacDuffie (Wharton University of Pennsylvania)
Mike Smitka (Washington and Lee, retired)
Géry Deffontaines (ENS-Paris-Saclay, Gerpisa)
Tommaso Pardi (IDHES-ENS Paris-Saclay, Gerpisa)
Program Committee:
Bruce Belzowski, Alex Covarrubias, Géry Deffontaines, Adriana Marotti, Giuseppe Giulio Calabrese, Roberto Marx, Thomas Klier, John Paul MacDuffie, Tommaso Pardi, Martin Krzywdzinski, Jorge Carrillo-Viveros, Sigfrido Ramirez, Mike Smitka

Extended Deadline for proposals: April 15th, 2020

Deadline for submitting the papers (IJATMan special issue and young author's prize): May 30th, 2020 

28éme Colloque International du Gerpisa :

Monday 1 June 2020, 11:00 CEST - Monday 22 June 2020, 19:00 CEST

On gerpisa.org!

Organisation committee
Deadline for sending the proposals: 
Wed, 04/15/2020 - 23:59
Deadline for submitting the papers: 
Sat, 05/30/2020 - 23:59

The theme of the 28th International Colloquium of Gerpisa is the digitalization of the auto industry. This includes three broad categories: the effect of digitalization on the architectures of automotive products, the impact on industry value chains and the wider industry eco-systems.

The colloquium was meant to take place in metropolitan Detroit, but due to the COVID 19 crisis will be hold as a virtual conference.

Extended Deadline 15th of April 2020.
This call is organized in three sub-themes of research.
1.    New product architectures: electrification, digitalization and beyond
Key topics: EVs, AVs, connected cars and their related technologies and innovations; their conception, production and distribution; alternatives technologies (biofuel, NGV, etc.); company trajectories (OEMS, global and national suppliers, new entrants etc.); profit strategies and product policies; productive organizations; integral vs modular product architectures; global platforms organization and governance; platform economy and related product-services.
2.    New value chains architectures: digitalization, globalization, de-globalization and the future of work

Key topics: the transformation of global value chains; the impact of new technologies on transnational manufacturers; industrial and innovation policies; economic, functional and social upgrading (downgrading); trade policies, FTAs and neo-protectionism; the future of work and the impact of digital technologies on work and employment; working conditions; upskilling – deskilling; training; organizing labour; restructuring; autonomy and control at work; decent work.

3.    New eco-system architectures: embedding the automobile in societal contexts

Key topics: new mobility models and their implications for the automotive eco-system; new business models for mobility providers; endorsement, acceptance or resistance towards new mobilities by users and workers; the role of old and new actors; public policies and regulations (local, national, and global) and their impact on the industry at the national and global level; work and labour in platform economies; environmental policies.
We are interested in papers that try to combine perspectives on different analytical levels, linking for instance transformations in product architectures with the reconfiguration of existing value chains and the creation of new ones, and the emergence of new eco-system architectures.
We welcome both empirical and conceptual studies. Along with varying levels of geographic focus, we are interested in work on the many levels of players in the industry: OEMs, global and local suppliers, distributors, retailers and aftermarket providers, new digital entrants, battery makers, transport, energy and service companies. Similarly, we are interested in the structure of the industry, from global value chains to regional and national industries. Coverage can focus on governments and other public authorities, including legislation, and legal and regulatory frameworks and specific regulations. Likewise, the industry reflects the roles of workers and trade unions, product purchasers and end users. Papers providing historical perspectives on these issues are welcome, explaining the processes by which product, value chain and eco-systems emerged over the past century, as a foundation for understanding ongoing transformations. How do past visions of the “future of automobile industry” and the “future of work” enlighten current visions and debates? How does the history of technology adoption, both successful and unsuccessful, enhance our understanding of contemporary developments?
A a selection of the best papers presented during the colloquium, including the winner of the young author’s prize (see below) will be included in a special issue of the International Journal of Automotive Technology and Management (IJATM).
To submit a proposal, please click the link below the chosen theme. Proposals should range between 500 and 1,000 words. They should present the outline of the research question (purpose), the methodology (design), the main results (findings) and their significance (practical and theoretical implications).
Instructions on how to submit final articles will be sent by email following the proposal acceptance. Proposals will be accepted on a rolling basis, and those submitted at the April 15th deadline will be accepted by April 20th, 2020. Powerpoints and/or papers, as well as the recorded video of the presentation (see instruction here: ) should be posted on the GERPISA website by the start of the first week in June, so that they can be linked to the program. Final articles should range between 5,000-7,000 words (excluding figures, tables and references) in order to be considered for the IJATM special issue. High-quality articles that exceed 7,000 words will be also considered on a case-by-case basis.
IJATM special issue
The International Journal of Automotive Technology and Management (IJATM) published by Inderscience publishes a special issue each year selected from papers presented during the GERPISA yearly colloquium. One or two papers from young authors will also be published in this special issue. An evaluation committee, composed of members of the GERPISA International Steering Committee, will assess the papers during the colloquium (young authors and others) and invite those chosen to submit to the IJATM Special Issue. After the decision of the GERPISA’s steering committee, the selected papers will be refereed through a double-blind process prior to final acceptance.
The criteria of the assessment are the relevance of the topic, the quality of the presentation (for works in progress), the strength of the results, the quality of the methodological work, and the review of the literature. Work across the social sciences (including history, management, economics, sociology, geography, and political science) dealing with the automobile industry is welcome.
IJATM will publish a special issue dedicated to public policies related to environmental standards and their impact on firm strategies and the overall automotive sector. This special issue, scheduled for 2021, will be coordinated by Sigfrido Ramírez Pérez.
Gerpisa Young Author Prize
The Young Author’s Prize of GERPISA, consisting of the publication of the winning paper in a special issue of IJATM and a €1500 award, recognizes the work of young researchers on topics related to the automobile industry. Our goal is to encourage scholars to focus on topics related to the automobile industry early in their career.
Requirements to submit a paper proposal for the young author’s prize:
1. Masters and Ph.D. students, post-docs and junior faculty are eligible. Applicants should be under age 37. Papers co-authored with a senior researcher will be assessed only for masters and doctoral students. We exclude those at the associate professor level or above, and senior researchers.)
2. Paper based on the analysis (whether theoretical, methodological, or empirical) of the automobile industry (topics have to cover one of the five themes of the colloquium);
3. Presentation of the paper by the young author during the 28th international colloquium in Ann Arbor/Detroit, 8th of June – 11th of June 2020;
4. Submission online (in line with one of the 3, specifying that the authors wish to be considered for the prize). They should also email basic information (name, date of birth, nationality, status, university/research affiliation, topic, and abstract) to Giuseppe Calabrese (giuseppe.giulio.calabrese@ircres.cnr.it), and Tommaso Pardi (tommaso.pardi@ens-cachan.fr) before April, 15th, 2020, for the proposal and May, 30th 2020, for the final paper.

1. New product architectures: electrification, digitalization and beyond

Theme N°: 

In product architectures the dominant design based on global modular platforms controlled by OEMs does not seem to have been challenged so far by the digitalization of R&D and products. However, the combination of electric drivetrains, shared mobility, and digital manufacturing opens up the possibility of open-modular network-based product architectures. The fundamental question is whether viable business models and coherent productive models can be built around such architectures.
We welcome papers that theoretically and empirically explore these avenues, as well as contributions that illustrate how OEMs’ product designs and global platforms are adapting to these potential radical changes.
What are the implications for existing productive models? Do we see new business models emerging exploring new sources of profits linked to the provision of mobility, data management and energy consumption? How are activities organized to cope with these challenges at the research, development and industrialization phases? How are the roles of economies of scale and standardization changing as digital activities become more important in value creation? Do we see new product architectures emerging through these processes? Are there particular types of vehicles (mini-cars, low-speed vehicles, ultra low cost cars) where the dominant design has already been challenged? What are the implications of these changes in product architecture for the evolution and/or transformation of value chains and ecosystem architectures?


2. New value chains architectures: digitalization, globalization, de-globalization and the future of work

Theme N°: 

Value chains appear to be under the firm grip of OEMs. Yet, the electrification and digitalization of vehicles are creating opportunities for new actors, both in the supply chain and many new OEMs. It is already clear that battery makers, electricity producers and distributors, mobility providers, internet companies and new car manufacturers specializing in EVs and connected/autonomous cars will all take away some of the control held by OEMs and global suppliers on value chains.  But we should also consider the possibility for new types of value chains to be built around these new actors. In the case of autonomous vehicles, many believe that those who will control the software will become the primary players, in the same way in which Microsoft commodified personal computers in the 1990s. Another interesting case is New Energy Vehicles (NEVs) in China, where the domestic internet giants see themselves as providers of Industry 4.0 technologies, connecting consumers and service providers with NEVs producers. In the case of EVs, battery producers at one end of the value chain, and energy providers and distributors at the other end, could also reshape the value chain of new mobility system around the storage, use, and management of energy.
We welcome papers that analyse the current transformations of value chains linked to digitalization/electrification and papers that explore the scenarios of new types of value chains built by or around new digital/energy actors.
How are OEMs and global suppliers integrating new actors into their global value chains? Do new actors such as Tesla and Byd, CATL, Panasonic, Waymo, Alibaba, and Uber challenge their dominant positions? How do the current transformations compare with those of the electronic industries in the 1990s, when digital companies commodified hardware manufacturers?
Can digital technologies be used by new car manufacturers to enter the market, and by local suppliers to upgrade their position in the value chain, particularly in emerging markets? That is, do these new technologies provide opportunities to leapfrog existing players, or will they reinforce the hegemony of incumbents based primarily in the Global North?
How are industry 4.0 technologies changing the organisation of value chains? Will the current lean production paradigm in productive organisations and employment relationships chang? Are employment and work conditions improving or worsening? How is digitalization in factories and R&D centers changing the nature of work and the employment relationship? How do industrial and trade unions deal with these transformation in different countries and at different levels of the value chain? 
How can changes in trade policies, in terms of both new agreements and on-going trade conflicts, affect global value chains? Do they reinforce or reduce globalization, in terms of trade and in terms of the dominance by global suppliers of national systems of production? 

3. New eco-system architectures: embedding the automobile in societal contexts

Theme N°: 

The transformation of the eco-system of the automotive industry, driven in part by digitalization, will trigger transformations in the architecture of products and value chains. Eco-systems are outside the control of any single actor, such as the OEMs, and are therefore more open to influence. For some aspects the main “architects” are countries, which can influence policies at the local, national and supranational levels. For example, national governments are active in fostering electrification and decarbonisation of vehicles, as well as in permitting experiments new forms of mobility, for which start-ups have raised significant amounts of money. By the same token, OEMs appear keen to become “mobility providers.” As a result it is possible we will see the rapid emergence of new eco-systems built around connected, electric, shared and autonomous vehicles, data driven mobilities, and the smart management of renewable and fossil-fuel energy. Nevertheless, while there many new players and initiatives, we have yet to observe a radical transformation of such eco-systems.
Are countries up to the task of providing the required infrastructure for connected and rechargeable vehicles? If not, can and will private actors fulfill this role? As almost all the actors involved in these experiments are burning cash, much less generating profits, is there any evidence of long-term viable business models?
Are these new mobility solutions inclusive of both consumers and workers? And if they are not, is their diffusion met by social and political opposition? Do for instance the yellow jackets protests in France represent a new type of social movement where the right to inclusive mobility becomes central? Will the workers for platforms such as Uber or Deliveroo succeed in organizing against bad employment and working conditions? If so, will that threaten the long-term viability of new mobility providers of persons and goods? Are there alternatives to privately-owned digital platforms, such as cooperatives and non-profit organisations, for promoting new types of mobility?
Are emerging countries in the position of leap-frogging existing automotive players and value chains? In particular, China through its ambitious programme “Made in China 2025” aims to become the front-runner in electric vehicles. Will this challenge the global dominance of incumbent European, American, Japanese and Korean producers inside and outside China? The automotive industry and transport sector are heavily regulated, including safety, fuel efficiency and emissions. How do these contribute to national strategies, and how important are they in molding the structure of the industry in different makets? Do we see convergent or divergent patterns? What type of policies, institutions and state actors shape these strategies and transformations?
What is the role of global finance in promoting/organising this new eco-system? What are the tools used by institutional investors to create and capture value? Is a financially driven transformation of mobility and transport systems sustainable? Does the financialisation of OEMs and global suppliers reinforce or weaken their capacity of dealing with these evolutions?
We welcome papers that explore these questions, as well as papers that look at what is happening at the city, regional and national levels, in terms of new services, experiments and technologies being tested or deployed.

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