The business of location: Site selection consultants and the mobilisation of knowledge in the location decision

Nicholas A. Phelps, Andrew M. Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

Consideration of the work of site selection consultants provides a window onto the frictions inherent in the location decision. In this paper, we draw upon interviews to interpret site selection consultants as intermediaries between a demand for locations emanating from MNEs and a supply of locations provided by national and subnational territories. We show how this intermediary role extends beyond the economizing on search costs and into the rarely appreciated market-creating and value adding opportunities offered by location. We also show how the knowledge mobilised by consultants is quintessentially geographical. Paradoxically, it is the geographical nature of the knowledge mobilised by site selection consultants that presents frictions to the professionalisation and globalisation of the industry despite its seminal role in promoting the mobility of economic activities. In conclusion, we explore elements of a future research agenda centred on the mediated nature of MNE location decisions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1023-1044
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Economic Geography
Volume18
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) (2018). Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Information economics
  • Knowledge of place
  • Multinational enterprise
  • Site selection consultants
  • The location decision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Economics and Econometrics

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