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Type: Theses
Title: Leveraging social capital for knowledge development in clusters
Author: Neale, Lisa
Issue Date: 2016
School/Discipline: Business School
Abstract: This doctoral thesis explores how social capital is leveraged for the transfer, sharing and spillover of knowledge (knowledge development) to achieve competitive advantage in clusters. The rationale behind this research is that, paradoxically, in a time of information technology and high labour mobility, location still matters for firms. Clusters - a term describing the spatial agglomeration of firms and institutions of one particular industry - can be the source of advantages for those firms located within the cluster as well as for the entire region. This research contributes to a body of literature devoted to explaining how the advantages of clustering come about. A resource based perspective on clusters is adopted, focussing on the interplay of the two intangible resources social capital and knowledge. In exploring the research problem of how social capital is leveraged for the development of knowledge in clusters, this project unveils 1) the drivers of social capital for knowledge development and 2) the role of different cluster actors in the development of knowledge. A qualitative methodology is employed to empirically investigate the research questions. A case study explores an Australian biotechnology cluster, with semi-structured interviews as a method of data collection. Addressing the drivers of social capital, results revealed that different dimensions of social capital drive knowledge development in distinct ways. Specifically, interpersonal relationships between cluster members and informal interaction, which are manifestations of different social capital dimensions, are identified to be the main drivers for knowledge development. In addition, several indirect factors affect knowledge development, through their impact on those interpersonal relationships and informal interaction. Regarding the cluster actors involved in the development of knowledge, results highlight the importance of facilitating actors, which assume the role of a broker of social capital between cluster members. From a theoretical perspective, this research makes a valuable contribution by showing that the overlap of the three theoretical streams knowledge, social capital and clusters can be drawn on to explain how competitive advantage is created in clusters. Specifically, findings highlight the distinct impact of different social capital dimensions on knowledge development. Furthermore, this research has implications for practitioners and cluster policy makers as findings suggest how social capital is best managed to foster prosperity of the cluster.
Advisor: Daniel, Lisa Jane
Royer, Susanne
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, Business School, 2016.
Keywords: knowledge
social capital
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
DOI: 10.25909/5b879706c1402
Appears in Collections:Research Theses

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