Contrasting local responses to globalization: the case of volume yacht manufacturing in Europe

Blundel, Richard and Thatcher, Michael (2005). Contrasting local responses to globalization: the case of volume yacht manufacturing in Europe. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 17(6) pp. 405–429.




This paper is concerned with contrasting the impact of globalization pressures on industrial development in particular localities, with specific reference to the relative performance of regional clusters. A multiple case study approach is adopted in order to examine the decline of volume yacht manufacturing in a long-established English cluster and to compare its responses to globalization with those of major competitors located in other parts of Europe. The case study opens with an analysis of three sector-specific drivers of globalization that have exercised a decisive impact on the sector over the last three decades. In the main analytical section, two alternative approaches to the analysis of clusters (Porter 1990, 2000, Best 2001) are applied to the empirical material. The application of Porter’s ‘diamond’ framework suggests some distinctive performance-related characteristics, while Best’s ‘cluster dynamics’ model provides a more sophisticated explanation of the differential responses and outcomes identified in the English case. The implications for policy are that cluster-level outcomes may be predicated on the internal dynamics of their respective ‘entrepreneurial fïrms’, and that regional development initiatives would benefit from conceptual and empirical studies that can better address the historical and spatial complexity of the underlying processes.

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