Perspectives on industrial clustering and the product, resource and knowledge based views of management
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This project examines the theoretical basis for linking industrial clustering to the strategic management of firms. Specifically, a recently deployed theory building framework defined three perspectives on clustering, the competitiveness perspective, the externalities perspective and the territorial perspective, but stopped short of explaining when, where and to whom these perspectives are relevant. This thesis proposes that firms are the central recipient of cluster effects and that the product-based, resource-based and knowledge-based approaches to management provide the theoretical base from which the operational contexts of each cluster perspective can be defined. Three cluster-management relationships are modelled and beta-tested on a sample of cluster-based firms. The empirical analysis is designed to provide feedback to the theory building process and not to prove or disprove the theory itself. The analysis yielded little if any evidence that the proposed cluster-management relationships are present in the sample that was studied. This result was a surprise as the exuberance with which clusters and their benefits are often promoted suggests that in a cluster there should be a pronounced correlation between firm performance and cluster attributes. The statistical limitations of this analysis mean the results can not be inferred to the general population and that the theoretical propositions are not actually disproved. Nonetheless, the muted observations do cast attention on the need for better modelling and measurement instruments in the field of cluster research. In addition, this project initiates a deductive process by which subsequent research can focus on the causal pathways that comprise the phenomenon of industrial clustering; including the pathway that links clusters to firms and then to economic performance.
DegreeMaster of Science (M.Sc.)
SupervisorPhillips, Peter W. B.
CommitteePainter, Marvin J.; Isaac, Grant E.; Dilling, Bryan; Craig, Wayne