A Tale of Two Clusters: Sharing Resources to Compete
Abstract: “The death of distance” has become the battle cry of a modern generation of managers, policy makers and scientists who embrace the new globalized economy and its promise of frictionless exchange across the world. While highly influential, this view does not, however, stand unchallenged. Over the last 15 years, there has been a growing interest in the geographical clustering of industry. Well-known studies of such clusters, in for example, Silicon Valley and the industrial districts of northern Italy, have provided accounts that dispute the death of distance doctrine and breathe life into the debate of what has come to be known as the globalization paradox. This book investigates the phenomenon of clustering by drawing on theories from two distinct research areas: agglomeration theory stemming primarily from economic geography, and the resources-based view of the firm originating in strategic management theory. The aim is to explain the way in which clusters of co-located and interconnected companies within a specific field are affected by their location. This is done by investigating two such clusters: one in Southern Ontario, Canada and one in Skåne, Sweden. Both clusters are focused on the food industry. In explaining the effects on firms’ competitiveness from their location in a cluster, the book elaborates on the importance of the process of identifying and evaluating firm-external resources, how firms must work to gain access to such resources, and what the central elements are for utilizing these resources in order to create competitive advantage. With the investigation of the role of the cluster in facilitating the process of identification, evaluation, access, and utilization of firm-external but cluster-specific resources, this book represents a contribution to theories within both strategic management and economic geography.
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