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Behind Innovation Clusters: Individual, Cultural, and Strategic Linkages

1 ISEG-Technical University of Lisbon & Researcher at CIS-ISCTE/IUL, Portugal
2 Oulu Business School, University of Oulu, Finland

International Journal of Innovation Science

ISSN: 1757-2223

Article publication date: 4 June 2013

88

Abstract

As observed by Porter [1] and Enright [2], clusters occupy a key position in the economy of developed countries, most notably because they bring several benefits resulting from economic and social factors. Although these authors alert us to the importance of social capital mechanisms in clustering processes, they fail to fully explore the psychological and social basis that underlay clusters and clustering processes. In the same vein, while Porter and Sölvell [3] mention that a cluster allows a shared language, social ties, and a set of standards and values to develop, they do not fully expand on how such phenomena develops. Addressing these gaps in the literature, the aim of this study is to investigate the dimensions (i.e. individual and social) which sustain and nurture the existence of macro structures (i.e. clusters). In particular, the current research looked at convergence and divergence mechanisms within a cluster. The exploratory nature of the research required a case study strategy; for this reason a cluster in the Portuguese textile sector was chosen. Data from three companies in the same cluster were gathered using several instruments, namely: a questionnaire, interviews, observation and documentary analysis. The results show that although the three companies operate in the same cluster, they are considerably different in terms of commercial orientations as well as cultural and strategic profiles, which is matched by a low presence of isomorphic mechanisms [4]; this result contradicts that of the Pouder and St. John [5] study. It was also observed that informal relations in the heart of the cluster are commonplace and that managers' differences play a role. In this way, they strengthen and motivate the aspects of the business that unite the cluster.

Citation

Gomes, J. and Hurmelinna-Laukkanen, P. (2013), "Behind Innovation Clusters: Individual, Cultural, and Strategic Linkages", International Journal of Innovation Science, Vol. 5 No. 2, pp. 89-102. https://doi.org/10.1260/1757-2223.5.2.89

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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