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The world over, clusters are home to leading firms and institutions that compete on the edge of technology. They can be found in developed and developing countries alike and comprise such famous ones as Silicon Valley, London ‟s financial center, ceramic tile and fashion in north Italy, wine in Bordeaux, automotive in Stuttgart and Munich, software in Bangalore, and manufacturing in China ‟s Pearl-river delta. Today they are studied by a variety of scholars from different fields including economists, social scientists, and strategists, but also by a growing number of business practitioners and policy makers.3 As a result, knowledge on the capacity of clusters to promote regional economic development and national prosperity and the role of local industrial policy in creating new clusters has increased rapidly in recent years The present research is best described as being exploratory in nature. It elaborates and extends existing theory. By doing so, it takes up a distinct position within scientific theory that is defined by three levels of analysis: (1) the meta-methodological level, (2) the methodological level, and (3) the theoretical level.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

1. Introduction

Abstract
The world over, clusters are home to leading firms and institutions that compete on the edge of technology. They can be found in developed and developing countries alike and comprise such famous ones as Silicon Valley, London’s financial center, ceramic tile and fashion in north Italy, wine in Bordeaux, automotive in Stuttgart and Munich, software in Bangalore, and manufacturing in China’s Pearl-river delta.
Saša Šarić

2. Current State of Knowledge on how Clusters Enable Firms to Create Competitive Advantages

Abstract
Clusters appear in varying forms, shapes, and sizes, are home to all types of industries and exist in different lifecycle stages. They can be found in developed and developing countries and comprise such famous ones as Silicon Valley, Las Vegas, London’s financial center, India’s information and communication technology (ICT) and China’s manufacturing clusters, ceramic tile and fashion in north Italy, and wine in Bordeaux. This variety causes a problem of definition and has led to a multiplicity of interpretations, terminologies, and Schools of Thought, each of which treats the cluster phenomenon somewhat differently. This chapter therefore develops a framework that integrates these different conceptualizations. The underlying research process is depicted in figure 4.
Saša Šarić

3. Theoretical Model of Internal Characteristics to Create Competitive Advantages through Clusters

Abstract
The aim of this chapter is to develop a theoretical model of internal characteristics beyond size and age that enable firms to create competitive advantages through clusters. The underlying research process is illustrated in figure 17.
Saša Šarić

4. Case Study to Identify Skills that make up a Firm’s Cluster-Capability

Abstract
As shown by the literature review in the previous chapters, up until now research has not been able to establish a well-defined set of skills that explains how firms create and defend competitive advantages through clusters. Accordingly, appropriate measures and their empirical tests in the cluster context are still missing. This chapter addresses this issue with a fieldwork that was conducted among 14 German manufacturing companies in China’s industrial clusters. It is outlined in figure 25.
Saša Šarić

5. Empirical Analysis of the Internal Characteristics and their Influence on Firm Performance

Abstract
The aim of the previous chapters was to arrive at a conceptual model about internal characteristics that enable firms to create competitive advantages through clusters. It is based on a theoretical discussion and a case study conducted in China. Taking this as a starting point, this chapter presents a survey that was carried out in China to empirically validate the hypothesized conceptual model. The outline of the next steps is illustrated in figure 33.
Saša Šarić

6. Recommendations for Implementing the Identified Internal Characteristics into Organizational Reality

Abstract
The results of the empirical analysis lend strong support for the validity of the configurational model. The Configurational School to strategy argues that firms achieve lasting competitive advantages, if they manage to achieve a “good fit” between their environment, strategy, internal capabilities, and organizational structure. These four variables give rise to distinct configurations also known as gestalts or archetypes, which represent organizational forms that have proven to lead to firm success.
Saša Šarić

7. Conclusion

Abstract
At the outset of this study laid the notion that up until recently the cluster discourse paid little attention to the individual cluster-firm. Instead, researchers, practitioners, and policy makers alike focused almost exclusively on the cluster as a whole, which came at the expense of the individual firm. Thus, while there is a well established body of knowledge on the capacity of clusters to promote regional development and national prosperity, there is little account of internal characteristics that enable the firm to create and defend competitive advantages through clusters. Given that the forces of globalization and rapid technological change will lead to more geographical concentration of economic activity rather than less, top managers need to know what they can do to profit from this trend.
Saša Šarić

Backmatter

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