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Bridging and bonding forms of social capital in a regional strategic network
Mälardalen University, School of Business, Society and Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7156-5020
Högskolan i Gävle.
Mälardalen University, School of Business, Society and Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6101-9237
2011 (English)In: Industrial Marketing Management, ISSN 0019-8501, E-ISSN 1873-2062, Vol. 40, no 6, p. 994-1003Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Research on networks emphasizes the importance of bonds between actors. Social reciprocity strengthens network bonds, which is assumed to have positive effects on business relationships between firms. However, the importance of weak ties is also stressed in network research. An important policy issue is therefore if more attention should be devoted to the creation of bridges to other social groups and loosening bonds between network actors. The difficulty in doing so is described and analyzed in this article focusing on a regional strategic network, which is viewed in three network perspectives. Interview data were collected from all participating managers in a regional strategic network in 2004 and 2010. The findings shed light upon the paradox of using a regional strategic network to counteract over-embeddedness and freeing the involved actors from existing network lock-ins instead of further strengthening such social institutions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 40, no 6, p. 994-1003
National Category
Economics and Business
Research subject
Industrial Economics and Organisations
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-13493DOI: 10.1016/j.indmarman.2011.06.040ISI: 000295861700018Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-80052270790OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-13493DiVA, id: diva2:465629
Available from: 2011-12-14 Created: 2011-12-14 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Sowing seeds for innovation: The impact of social capital in regional strategic networks
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Sowing seeds for innovation: The impact of social capital in regional strategic networks
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In order to promote regional innovation and stronger social coherence the European Union has set goals to become the world’s most competitive, dynamic, and knowledge-based economy. These ambitious goals are supported by funds allocated to regional strategic networks (also called cluster initiatives). Usually, the management of regional strategic networks is left to the discretion of the project leaders. However, the industry agglomeration model which constitutes the foundation for regional development policies fails to consider the social context. It also overemphasizes the relevance of a linear approach towards innovation which is problematic, as this fails to consider the conditions for implementation in different contexts.

This thesis builds upon data from two case studies of regional strategic networks (Firsam at Söderhamn and FPX at Gävle) and serves to describe (1) how the management group of an RSN creates the prerequisite for an innovative milieu by analyzing the effects that social capital imposes on social interaction, and (2) how a policy initiated innovation process is supported by an RSN management group by analyzing resource interaction between the developing, producing and using settings.

As a conclusion it is stated that a manager of a regional strategic network should balance the bridging and bonding forces that social capital produces. Under some circumstances it might be advantageous to form tightly knit groups that can foster trust and cultural proximity. In other cases loosely knit groups might be preferable where novel information is exchanged between previously unconnected actors. Also, the innovation construct is applied in the thesis to denote the process where resources are combined in new ways within existing structures to offer new solutions in the market. The manager of a regional strategic network must consider not only the setting in which an invention is developed but also the settings where new solutions are converted into products and those where they are brought to use.

The performance of the investigated development initiatives indicates that merely funding regional strategic networks is insufficient to spur regional growth. It is not as easy as merely sowing seed for innovation; it must also fall on good soil. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Västerås: Mälardalen University, 2014
Series
Mälardalen University Press Dissertations, ISSN 1651-4238 ; 155
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Industrial Economics and Organisations
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-24635 (URN)978-91-7485-141-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-04-23, Pi, Mälardalens högskola, Västerås, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-03-13 Created: 2014-03-13 Last updated: 2015-02-03Bibliographically approved

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Eklinder-Frick, JensHallén, Lars

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