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Interfirm Networks and Cluster Development:An Empirical Cross Comparison of UK and Italy


Geographical clusters have long been at the center stage of the debate on interfirm networks and regional success. While research in this field has contributed crucial insights to the understanding of interorganizational networks and embedded ties as deter minants of local growth and systemic strength, much weaker focus has been placed on the role and performance of the cluster-located firm (CLF), as an active constituent of this dense multirelational system. Furthermore, despite the great emphasis on relati onal processes that distinguish research on localized industries by and large, only few studies have endeavored to untangle such processes within a framework of formal network analytic measurement and operationalization. In addressing these shortcomings, t his proposal will attempt to contribute three novel insights to the understanding of firm performance within geographical clusters: First, building on the notion of interorganizational networks as carriers of information and knowledge, it will develope a s tylized model of network ties as enablers of opportunity discovery and CLFs growth. Second, based on social networks analytic tools, it will investigate and provide visual representations of the interorganizational space in which CLFs are embedded. Third, it will provide an original operationalization approach to gauge and statistically estimate the impact of interfirm networking on the economic performance of the CLFs. To underpin these ideas I will collect and use a cross comparision of longitudinal data gathered on a large sample of small firms located in two knowledge intensive geographical cluster, in Italy and UK.

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Northampton Square
United Kingdom