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Knowledge flows and industrial clusters: assessing the sources of competitive advantage in two English regions

Corker, C., Lane, J. ORCID: and Wilson, J. (2024) Knowledge flows and industrial clusters: assessing the sources of competitive advantage in two English regions. Enterprise and Society. ISSN 1467-2235

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1017/eso.2023.55


How knowledge is created, accessed, stored and disseminated has become a major focus of study when assessing the success or failure of industrial clusters. Marshall (1890; 225) initiated this debate when he noted: ‘The mysteries of the trade become no mysteries; but are as it were in the air’. In the edited collection by Wilson, Corker and Lane (2022), emphasis has been placed on the links between knowledge, knowledge flows and how innovation systems evolve and adapt. This paper builds on their work examining how tacit and codified knowledge is created and disseminated across a cluster. Bathelt et al (2004) have demonstrated how successful clusters build effective ‘global pipelines’ to access knowledge generated elsewhere, prompting us to think how a business history analysis can incorporate these concepts and how these processes have worked in practice. The paper analyses two English clusters and the processes involved in the formation of a common body of knowledge, a ‘knowledge-cum-industrial zeitgeist’ which explains the cluster’s performance. Specifically, it proposes a model that links internally-generated knowledge and ‘global pipelines’ that clusters develop to tap into externally-generated knowledge, which through effective feedback into the ‘local buzz’ results in further innovation and strengthens the cluster’s competitive advantage.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Henley Business School > International Business and Strategy
ID Code:114428
Publisher:Cambridge University Press


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