The impact of cluster connectedness on firm innovation: R&D effort and outcomes in the textile industry

Autores UPV
Revista Entrepreneurship and regional development


Recent research into the clustering effect on firms has moved away from a simplistic view to a more complex approach. More realistic and complex causal relationships are now considered when analysing these territorial networks. Specifically, this paper attempts to analyse how cluster connectedness moderates the relationship of a firm's innovation effort and the results obtained from this effort. We want to question the commonly accepted direct and positive impact of R&D effort, and moreover, we suggest the existence of a saturation effect and that the level of cluster's inter-connectedness in the cluster moderates this effect. We have developed our empirical study focusing on the Spanish textile industrial cluster. This is a complex manufacturing industry that uses relatively low-technology manufacturing and R&D. Our findings suggest that the degree to which a firm is involved with, or connected to, other firms in the cluster can moderate the effect of the R&D effort on its innovation results. More generally, we aim to contribute to the discussion on the degree to which firms should be involved in the cluster network in order to operate efficiently and gain the maximum competitive advantages. Our findings have implications both in recent cluster and network literature as well for institutional policy. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.