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Cluster role in industry 4.0 – a pilot study from Germany

Marta Götz (Akademia Finansow i Biznesu Vistula, Warszawa, Poland)

Competitiveness Review

ISSN: 1059-5422

Article publication date: 12 May 2020

Issue publication date: 17 January 2021




This paper aims to explore the nature of Industry 4.0 (I4.0) cluster, to establish and empirically verify in the pilot study the role of clusters in developing the fourth industrial revolution. It aims to find out if the cluster can provide a conducive knowledge environment fostering the advancement of I4.0; simplify the implementation of I4.0 by making it faster, easier, and cheaper and finally be applied as policy tool organising the development of I4.0.


This paper is based on the narrative literature review mapping the cluster’s nature with I4.0 features. It adopts the case study approach and uses simple statistical analysis to explore the basic characteristics of I4.0 clusters combined with a survey technique – short questionnaire organised in three major blocks.


Drawing on German pilot study it can be confirmed that clusters offer conducive environment facilitating the emergence, testing and development of I4.0 specific solutions. They provide favourable knowledge environment, simplify and increase the efficiency of the business processes and organise the policymaking in this area.


The results of presented pilot study rooted in Germany – a country seen as the front-runner in implementing the solutions of the fourth industrial revolution – can add a certain value to the emerging research on unearthed linkages between clusters and I4.0. This paper might be seen as a contribution to the emerging literature on the spatial dimension of I4.0. It expands previous research on cluster channels’ likely impact on I4.0.



Author would like to thank two anonymous Referees and the Editor for their valuable comments which helped her improve the quality of this paper.

Bekker Programme of the Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange (NAWA) – decision no. PPN/BEK/2018/1/00034/DEC/1.


Götz, M. (2021), "Cluster role in industry 4.0 – a pilot study from Germany", Competitiveness Review, Vol. 31 No. 1, pp. 54-82.



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