AbstractsBusiness Management & Administration

Business Clusters in the Service Sector: Multicriteria Analysis and Modeling

by Maria Tsakalerou

Institution: Democritus University of Thrace (DUTH); Δημοκρίτειο Πανεπιστήμιο Θράκης (ΔΠΘ)
Year: 2015
Keywords: Επιχειρηματικές συστάδες; Διανοητικό κεφάλαιο; Διαχείριση γνώσης; Πολυκριτηριακή ανάλυση; Μικτού τύπου ανάλυση; Πίνακες GE - McKinsey; Business clusters; Intellectual capital; Knowledge management; Multi-criteria decision analysis; Mixed-mode analysis; GE - McKinsey matrices
Record ID: 1153325
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10442/hedi/35615


Business clusters have been associated with innovation capacity and are assumed to confer competitive advantages to their members and their regions. The current thesis is that clusters confer distinct advantages to their members via knowledge management, knowledge spillovers and intellectual capital primarily based on tacit knowledge. Despite mixed empirical evidence to support these claims, business clusters remain at the forefront of regional development policies. As ambiguities in defining clusters and identifying their members and their borders prevent accurate policy evaluation, the objective should be to develop well-designed, well-monitored pilot studies so that a body of evidence can be amassed and used for meta-studies. It is apparent that there will not be a single unifying theory for business clusters. Success factors depend upon a multitude of issues and clusters seem to behave differently in different parts of the world, in different economies and in different stages of their development.A significant contribution of this dissertation is thus the shift of the focus from mere spatial proximity to the flow of information in business networks and the production, dissemination and absorption of knowledge (knowledge management). In this context, information flow in business clusters is aided and abetted by spatial proximity but the flow itself is the important success factor.Intellectual capital –from intellectual property and patents through staff technical skills to relationships and networking with customers– has been identified as the key variable of information flow and thus as a source of competitive advantage. The key conjecture is that intellectual capital is more likely to be the key source of a firm’s competitive advantage than tangible resources. Yet in this case as well the empirical evidence on the causal relationship between intellectual capital and organizational value has provided mixed results. This is due to the fact that intellectual capital is a complex phenomenon of interactions, transformations and complementarities. Divergent, even suspect, standards of recording intellectual capital practices worldwide and forced generalizations across business sectors and regions at varied stages of development do exasperate the problem. A key hypothesis of this dissertation is that intellectual capital has distinctly different characteristics for service or manufacturing firms, for small and medium enterprises or large multinational corporations and for firms operating in advanced or developing economies. The dissertation is based on a meta-analysis or meta-study framework of the research literature of the last 14 years (2000-2013). The results of the meta-analysis/meta-study shed new light to the basic hypotheses set forth by the dissertation. In this context, the major contributions of the dissertation include:- supporting evidence regarding the key conjecture that intellectual capital is more likely to be the key source of a firm’s competitive advantage than tangible resources;- individual…