In the global value chain, suppliers from emerging countries get involved in the upgrading of activities. This paper postulates that firms from emerging countries can reach international markets by downgrading value chain activities. We conducted a bibliometric analysis on the downgrading literature by compiling 212 publications from 2001 to 2020.
To identify the most influential articles, we formulated an Importance-Performance Analysis (IPA) matrix by using the Total Citation (TC) and Average Citation Rate (ACR) of the publications. The study performed VOSviewer graphical analysis to determine the cooperation network among the key authors. The analysis identified the typologies of downgrading concepts from three levels: firm, local and global. The study also proposed the antecedents of the downgrading framework by explicating the firms’ motivation factors, facilitators and barriers of downgrading in the value chain. The findings provide directions for further research in downgrading as a supplier strategy.