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Tracking the Parts: Electronics and Global Production Networks (TPSC-252R)

Director: Associate Professor Mark Dallas, Political Science

A Maker-related module was developed by Professor Mark Dallas in the Political Science Department for his Global Supply Chains course (TPSC-252R). The course required students to disassemble smart phones and other electronic devices and to research their component’s origins in order to build a hands-on understanding of global supply chains.
Students identified as many of the parts within the phone and researched the companies from which the parts were sourced. Students then engaged in research about the companies who manufacture each of the major parts (their size, country of headquarters, etc), as well as compare this information about the phones they disassemble, with other disassembled phones listed on various websites.
Students will better experience what primary research is like, rather than rely solely on secondary research for their final research project. Also, these type of “tear downs” have been done extensively, ever since the publication of a paper in Industrial and Corporate Change from 2007. So, students will get a better sense of how work like this can be converted into academic research by reading these publications.

Union College OSH