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Multidimensional social capital as a boost or a bar to innovativeness
Mälardalen University, School of Business, Society and Engineering, Industrial Economics and Organisation.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7156-5020
Högskolan i Gävle.
Mälardalen University, School of Business, Society and Engineering, Industrial Economics and Organisation.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6101-9237
2014 (English)In: Industrial Marketing Management, ISSN 0019-8501, E-ISSN 1873-2062, Industrial Marketing Management, ISSN 0019-8501, Vol. 43 3, no 3, p. 460-472Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Innovation does not only demand new ideas, financial resources, and knowledge of supplier and user systems. Social capital also influences the innovativeness in business networks. However, social capital is often vague, at times described as a “catch-all notion”. In this paper definitions of social capital are suggested to support the management of innovation in networks. Three dimensions of social capital are applied in a case study of a regional strategic network – the socio-economic, the structural and the actor-oriented dimensions – while focusing on the last one. Data were collected at two points in time, at the start of the regional strategic network in 2004 and at the end of the project in 2010. The application of the concepts and the comparison between these two points in time highlight the influence of social capital and how it can hinder or be used to promote innovation processes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 43 3, no 3, p. 460-472
Keywords [en]
social capital, innovation, innovativeness, bridging, bonding, cluster initiatives
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Industrial Economics and Organisations
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-23927DOI: 10.1016/j.indmarman.2013.12.014ISI: 000337661300012Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84900502081OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-23927DiVA, id: diva2:682081
Available from: 2013-12-22 Created: 2013-12-22 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically 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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