Networks of clusters: A governance perspective

Schüßler, Elke; Decker, Carolin and Lerch, Frank (2013). Networks of clusters: A governance perspective. Industry and Innovation, 20(4) pp. 357–377.



This paper aims to further our emerging knowledge on the external linkages of clusters. We adopt a network governance perspective and study connected clusters as goal-directed, multi-level whole networks that we denote as ‘cluster networks’. Based on an analysis of four empirical cases varying in regional scope, age, and industry context, we identify two governance forms: internally governed cluster networks are formed to establish ties among cluster representative organizations to share knowledge and pool resources on selected activities; externally governed cluster networks are formed to systematically develop cross-cluster ties and competences on and across levels and are brokered by a central inter-cluster administrative organization and several decentralized lead organizations. Our findings show that cluster connectivity can go beyond organization-based pipelines and personal relationships to include clusters as governed entities, albeit with different intensities regarding the brokerage of ties on lower levels.

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