Knowledge has become a crucial asset in modern production systems; therefore, its creation has become a key process in order to sustain or increase competitiveness. The ensuing shift toward a knowledge-based economy has amplified research interests in geographical clustering of firms that compete in the same or related industries, a sort of ideal space where inter-organizational learning should take place more easily. Indeed, research has produced empirical evidence that firms located in geographical clusters are more likely to learn and innovate than isolated firms (Audretsch and Feldman, 1996; Baptista and Swann, 1998; Baptista, 2000; Porter, 1990). The renewed attention to the subject of geographical proximity highlights how far we are from having a clear understanding of the influence of geographical proximity on the process of interactive learning and innovation (Boschma, 2005; Torre and Gilly, 2000). Geographic proximity per se is not considered a sufficient condition for learning to take place (Boschma, 2005: 62) while it is able to strength other dimensions of proximity facilitating learning processes (Boschma, 2005; Boari, Espa, Odorici and Zamarian, 2004; Breschi and Lissoni, 2005; Greeve, 2005). Many scholars starting from different perspectives converge to agree that different forms of proximity should be related to one other and their importance explored to establish a specific theory of clusters where learning occupies the central stage (Torre and Rallet, 2005; Knoben and Oerlemans, 2006; Malmberg and Maskell 2002: 429). Moreover, theoretical developments and empirical testing have largely been restricted to the relationship between geographical proximity, inter-firm cooperation and learning processes. Undoubtedly, far less attention has been paid to geographical proximity, rivalry and learning processes. This paper aims to contribute to this debate exploring the relationship between geographical proximity and rivalry in influencing interactive learning and knowledge creation. Rivalry is considered to play a central role in the explanations of the advantage of industry agglomeration. Rivalry is at the very heart of the concept of geographical cluster, as a spatially concentrated group of firms that are rivals of one another. Claims that “knowledge in clusters is created through increased competition and intensified rivalry” (Malmberg and Power, 2005: 412) are widely shared. The ideas that rivalry should be more intense and should play an essential role in learning processes going on among the firms inside the geographical cluster (because of the geographical proximity) have been documented in few empirical investigations. Drawing on the empirical and theoretical efforts of diverse streams of research on competitive dynamic, learning and industrial agglomerations this paper addresses the relationships between geographical proximity and rivalry and their consequences on learning processes. In particular geographical proximity influences rivals identification process as well as rivals comparison process, mediating the relationship between rivalry and learning process. In order to address the issue, we made use of an agent-based model (ABM). ABMs reconstruct interactions between agents out of their behavioral rules. In this case, strategic choices of rival firms are derived from general assumptions on competitive behavior and learning processes. The rest of this article is structured as follows. The second section provides the theoretical and conceptual framework of the study. The third section illustrates the elements of the model.. The fourth section shows the experiment and preliminary results.

Rivalry and inter-organizational learning processes: What are the horizontal benefits of clustering?

BOARI, CRISTINA;CAPIZZI, SIRIO;FIORETTI, GUIDO;ODORICI, VINCENZA
2007

Abstract

Knowledge has become a crucial asset in modern production systems; therefore, its creation has become a key process in order to sustain or increase competitiveness. The ensuing shift toward a knowledge-based economy has amplified research interests in geographical clustering of firms that compete in the same or related industries, a sort of ideal space where inter-organizational learning should take place more easily. Indeed, research has produced empirical evidence that firms located in geographical clusters are more likely to learn and innovate than isolated firms (Audretsch and Feldman, 1996; Baptista and Swann, 1998; Baptista, 2000; Porter, 1990). The renewed attention to the subject of geographical proximity highlights how far we are from having a clear understanding of the influence of geographical proximity on the process of interactive learning and innovation (Boschma, 2005; Torre and Gilly, 2000). Geographic proximity per se is not considered a sufficient condition for learning to take place (Boschma, 2005: 62) while it is able to strength other dimensions of proximity facilitating learning processes (Boschma, 2005; Boari, Espa, Odorici and Zamarian, 2004; Breschi and Lissoni, 2005; Greeve, 2005). Many scholars starting from different perspectives converge to agree that different forms of proximity should be related to one other and their importance explored to establish a specific theory of clusters where learning occupies the central stage (Torre and Rallet, 2005; Knoben and Oerlemans, 2006; Malmberg and Maskell 2002: 429). Moreover, theoretical developments and empirical testing have largely been restricted to the relationship between geographical proximity, inter-firm cooperation and learning processes. Undoubtedly, far less attention has been paid to geographical proximity, rivalry and learning processes. This paper aims to contribute to this debate exploring the relationship between geographical proximity and rivalry in influencing interactive learning and knowledge creation. Rivalry is considered to play a central role in the explanations of the advantage of industry agglomeration. Rivalry is at the very heart of the concept of geographical cluster, as a spatially concentrated group of firms that are rivals of one another. Claims that “knowledge in clusters is created through increased competition and intensified rivalry” (Malmberg and Power, 2005: 412) are widely shared. The ideas that rivalry should be more intense and should play an essential role in learning processes going on among the firms inside the geographical cluster (because of the geographical proximity) have been documented in few empirical investigations. Drawing on the empirical and theoretical efforts of diverse streams of research on competitive dynamic, learning and industrial agglomerations this paper addresses the relationships between geographical proximity and rivalry and their consequences on learning processes. In particular geographical proximity influences rivals identification process as well as rivals comparison process, mediating the relationship between rivalry and learning process. In order to address the issue, we made use of an agent-based model (ABM). ABMs reconstruct interactions between agents out of their behavioral rules. In this case, strategic choices of rival firms are derived from general assumptions on competitive behavior and learning processes. The rest of this article is structured as follows. The second section provides the theoretical and conceptual framework of the study. The third section illustrates the elements of the model.. The fourth section shows the experiment and preliminary results.
Euram Conference 2007 – Paris, France
Boari C.; Capizzi S.; Fioretti G.; Odorici V.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/49106
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