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Cluster Initiatives as Intermediaries: A Study of their Management and Stakeholders
Linköping University, HELIX Vinn Excellence Centre. Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Project Innovations and Entrepreneurship. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2656-1995
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation offers a platform to understand the nature of cluster initiatives as a socio-economic phenomenon combining cluster, entrepreneurship and intermediary features. They are particular types of ventures facilitating networks and dialog platforms adjusted to local contexts and offering a way to enhance regional development. The success of clusters and regions is shaped by the degree they are based on and involve entrepreneurial activity, which is viewed here under the prism of cluster initiatives. This dissertation uses both qualitative and quantitative approaches to study various organizational aspects of cluster initiatives and their intermediary role as well as providing recommendations for the management and support of these organizations. It is based on five papers written by the author of the dissertation solely and in collaboration with other scholars where the level of analysis is focused on cluster initiatives. Based on empirical material from the papers this dissertation brings together both the structural and organizational content of cluster initiatives by providing evidence in the areas of actors and relationships, mode of organization and intermediary specific, assessment and management as well as policy.

This work has generated the following conclusions: firstly, cluster initiatives represent organizations bringing together a four-faceted constellation of interrelated actors (i.e. the initiative itself, key player, support and target group), through organization of intermediary activities. Secondly, these organizations are organized as temporary projects, but being able to attract many members and to satisfy their needs through diversified and innovative activities can help them to achieve longevity. The longevity of initiatives can also be supported by policy, which in order to become effective, should include a long-term perspective and bottom-up approach. And finally, the study proposes a model of five central qualitative success factors to be used for the assessment and management of the initiatives, which together depict a holistic picture of their functioning. This model contains elements such as idea, driving forces, activities, organization and critical mass. The two models of interrelated actors and of success factors form the main contribution of this work. Extending the stream of studies this dissertation raises awareness and calls for recognition of cluster initiatives as important actors working in-between the boundaries of other organizations and institutions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2015. , 90 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1690
Keyword [en]
Cluster, cluster initiatives, intermediary organization, regional development, entrepreneurship, success factors, actors/stakeholders and activities
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-121631DOI: 10.3384/diss.diva-121631ISBN: 978-91-7685-997-1 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-121631DiVA: diva2:857401
Public defence
2015-10-30, ACAS, A-huset, Campus Valla, Linköping, 09:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
PIE/HELIX
Funder
VINNOVA
Available from: 2015-10-02 Created: 2015-09-29 Last updated: 2016-05-04Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Catching regional development dreams: a study of cluster initiatives as intermediaries
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Catching regional development dreams: a study of cluster initiatives as intermediaries
2012 (English)In: European Planning Studies, ISSN 0965-4313, E-ISSN 1469-5944, Vol. 20, no 11, 1909-1921 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper focuses on actors and activities of cluster initiatives which are intermediaries within clusters of similar and related firms. A case study method is used; the cases show that their success and longevity depend to a large extent on their actors sharing a common vision. It is proposed that actors involved in cluster initiatives can be categorised according to a typology consisting of key players, target and support groups. Managing cluster initiatives requires striking a balance between well-developed and anchored targeted activities and experimental activities exploring future needs. This requires some openness and flexibility within the shared vision. Cluster initiatives can therefore be viewed as dream-catchers that rather than control and govern the clusters perform a more subtle role of gathering and visualizing potential opportunities in regional contexts and articulating and realizing them through an entrepreneurial process.

National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-80106 (URN)10.1080/09654313.2012.725161 (DOI)000310309800009 ()
Available from: 2012-08-20 Created: 2012-08-20 Last updated: 2017-12-07
2. Understanding Cluster Initiatives in Europe: uniqueness and Contextuality
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Understanding Cluster Initiatives in Europe: uniqueness and Contextuality
2015 (English)In: Sustainable development in organizations: studies on innovative practices / [ed] Mattias Elg, Per-Erik Ellström, Magnus Klofsten, Malin Tillmar, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2015, 275-298 p.Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The chapter begins with an introduction and review of the literature about cluster initiatives and intermediary organizations. This is followed by a methodology section, describing data collection and process of analysis. The results, conclusions and implications discuss the outcome of the three research questions and their practical implications.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2015
National Category
Economics and Business Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-121712 (URN)000374407200016 ()9781784716882 (ISBN)
Available from: 2015-10-02 Created: 2015-10-02 Last updated: 2016-05-19Bibliographically approved
3. Cluster Initiatives within the European Context: Intermediary Actors and Development process
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Cluster Initiatives within the European Context: Intermediary Actors and Development process
Show others...
2015 (English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Cluster initiatives can be seen as intermediaries that drive networks among triple helix actors. This paper investigates how cluster initiatives intermediate within a triple helix context in terms of actors’ involvement and dependency patterns between their maturity and member enrolment. A sample of 253 European initiatives was contacted of which 136 (53%) responded. The results show that two factors influence attraction of new target members in cluster initiatives: namely age of the initiative and the presence of key players and support groups. Our findings lead to a number of implications for policymakers, such as the importance of long-term financing of well-functioning cluster initiatives despite their age.

Keyword
Cluster initiatives, intermediaries, triple helix actors, development process
National Category
Economics and Business Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-121713 (URN)
Available from: 2015-10-02 Created: 2015-10-02 Last updated: 2016-05-04Bibliographically approved
4. Success factors in cluster initiative management: Mapping out the ‘big five’
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Success factors in cluster initiative management: Mapping out the ‘big five’
2015 (English)In: Industry & higher education, ISSN 0950-4222, E-ISSN 2043-6858, Vol. 29, no 1, 65-77 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Cluster development is prioritized in policy programmes as a means to facilitate regional growth and job creation. Triple Helix actors are often involved in so-called cluster initiatives – intermediary organizations having the objective of the development of a local or regional cluster. This paper maps out the ‘big five’ qualitative success factors in cluster initiative management: the idea; driving forces and commitment; activities; critical mass; and organization. The proposed framework enables the assessment of performance and sustainability over time, useful for both everyday management operations and policy programmes designed to support cluster initiatives.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2015
Keyword
Cluster initiatives; qualitative success factors; regional development
National Category
Basic Medicine
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-114408 (URN)10.5367/ihe.2015.0237 (DOI)
Available from: 2015-02-20 Created: 2015-02-20 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved
5. Cluster Initiatives within the European Context: Stimulating Policies for Regional Development Dreams
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Cluster Initiatives within the European Context: Stimulating Policies for Regional Development Dreams
2015 (English)In: New Technology-Based Firms in the New Millennium / [ed] Aard Groen, Gary Cook and Peter Van Der Sijde, Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2015, 147-170 p.Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This chapter aims to enrich knowledge about cluster initiatives acting as intermediaries primarily between members in a cluster or in regional context. This is a practically oriented manuscript written to contribute to refinement of existing policies by proposing recommendations based on recent empirical studies regarding funding, actors’ and activities’ content, as well as cluster initiatives’ assessment. It is proposed that public support should be balanced, targeting new as well as established, well-functioning cluster initiatives. Furthermore, regional authorities should encourage multifaceted collaboration (e.g., Triple Helix), stimulate variation in activities to maximize the benefit of cluster initiatives as well as define and communicate success factors that make it possible to evaluate cluster initiatives from a holistic perspective. These recommendations are primary aimed for regional authorities and reflect a bottom-up perspective where both logic of initiatives’ actions and their development are captured. Yet, even national authorities can make use of the recommendations in this chapter to improve governance of cluster initiatives and to determine further directions of regional policies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2015
Series
New Technology-Based Firms in the New Millennium, ISSN 1876-0228 ; 11
National Category
Economics and Business Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-121714 (URN)10.1108/S1876-022820150000011015 (DOI)978-1-78560-033-3 (ISBN)978-1-78560-032-6 (ISBN)
Available from: 2015-10-02 Created: 2015-10-02 Last updated: 2015-10-07Bibliographically approved

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