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The roles of intermediaries in upgrading of manufacturing clusters: enhancing cluster absorptive capacity

Abstract

Specialized clusters rely on common knowledge resources and extra-cluster linkages, but how such resources develop over time is unclear. A case in point is how extra-cluster linkages are integrated into intra-cluster networks and the role of different cluster actors in enhancing cluster absorptive capacity. The paper explores the role of cluster intermediaries in linking clusters to external knowledge sources and contributing to knowledge dissemination among cluster firms. This perspective is relevant as manufacturing firms are facing rapid changes in technology, such as those associated with ‘Industry 4.0’. Two manufacturing clusters in Norway are studied regarding cluster absorptive capacities and the role of cluster intermediaries. The authors derive two types of cluster intermediaries with different kinds of service provision well-adjusted to the firm structure. Cluster intermediaries in both cluster contexts can assist firms in tracking and adapting to rapid technological developments.

Category

Academic article

Client

  • Research Council of Norway (RCN) / 237900

Language

English

Author(s)

Affiliation

  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • SINTEF Digital / Technology Management

Date

20.01.2022

Year

2022

Published in

Competition & Change

ISSN

1024-5294

Publisher

Sage Publications

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