Industrial cluster involvement and organizational adaptation: An empirical study in international industrial clusters

Keui‐Hsien Niu (California State University, Sacramento, California, USA)

Competitiveness Review

ISSN: 1059-5422

Publication date: 5 October 2010



The research of industrial cluster and organizational adaptation can be traced back to early strategic management and organization theory. This paper initiates an attempt to empirically examine the relationship between a firm's involvement in an industrial cluster and its adaptive outcomes.


Field survey research method was used and data were collected from four international industrial clusters which consist of 188 company responses. Regression analysis and path analysis were used to analyze the data.


The paper found that the degree of a firm's involvement in an industrial cluster affects its adaptation outcomes. But the nature of the adaptation benefits depends, to a large degree, on the type of cluster involvement.

Research limitations/implications

Using self‐reported data could be a potential limitation of this paper. It would be preferable to have other forms of data for a study.

Practical implications

Industrial clusters are widely considered a network‐based industrial system with the aim of adapting to fast‐changing markets and technologies as an organized whole. Firms within a cluster can work together to co‐evolve for the purpose of enhancing competitiveness and adapting to the environmental change. As the sum of the benefit of a cluster is of greater value than each individual company or institution, whether to involve in an industrial cluster to have effective adaptation is worthy of managers' consideration.


The major contribution of this work is the first attempt to operationalize the construct “industrial cluster” and to create a coherent model that logically links industrial clusters and organizational adaptation to tests that have not been covered sufficiently in the literature.



Niu, K. (2010), "Industrial cluster involvement and organizational adaptation: An empirical study in international industrial clusters", Competitiveness Review, Vol. 20 No. 5, pp. 395-406.

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