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Innovation in clusters: exploration capacity, networking intensity and external resources

Manuel Expósito-Langa (Business Administration Department, Universitat Politècnica de València, Alcoi, Spain.)
José-Vicente Tomás-Miquel (Department of Business Administration, Universitat Politècnica de València, Alcoi, Spain.)
F. Xavier Molina-Morales (Business Administration and Marketing Department, Universitat Jaume I, Castelló de la Plana, Spain.)

Journal of Organizational Change Management

ISSN: 0953-4814

Article publication date: 9 February 2015




The purpose of this paper is to present an integrated model of the determinants of innovation in clusters. In the understanding, internal, external and relational dimensions must be considered to make up a complete picture of the innovation processes. The authors propose that the exploration capacity of the firm, as well as its networking intensity and the external resources provided by supporting organizations are relevant in this context.


The empirical study has drawn on the population of the firms belonging to the Valencian textile industrial cluster in Spain and was carried out in two different phases. In the first step the authors applied the social network analysis technique to study the relational structure of the participating companies, followed by a second analysis aimed at performing a more detailed analysis of the companies that answered the roster by means of face-to-face interviews.


Results suggest that firms in clusters must develop individual capacities parallel to the systemic resources in order to improve their innovation performance. These systemic resources are provided by the position in the knowledge network and the relations with Knowledge Intensive Business Services (KIBS), as agents that connect the cluster with external networks.


In spite of diverse contributions, previous research only provides a partial explanation of the issue and others underestimate one of the elements (internal or external to the firm) where the sources of innovation are generated. The originality of this study lies in the fact that it presents a complete perspective of the innovation process in clustered firms and clarifies key questions in cluster studies through network analysis techniques.



The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness is gratefully acknowledged (ECO2012-32663) and the Programa de Apoyo a la I+D 2012 para Primeros Proyectos de Investigación PAID-06-12 (SP20120492) of the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia-Vicerrectorado de Investigación.


Expósito-Langa, M., Tomás-Miquel, J.-V. and Molina-Morales, F.X. (2015), "Innovation in clusters: exploration capacity, networking intensity and external resources", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 28 No. 1, pp. 26-42.



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