Chapter 11: The Relationship between the Spatial and Hierarchical Organization of Multiplant Firms: Observations from the Global Semiconductor Industry
11. The relationship between the spatial and hierarchical organization of multiplant ﬁrms: observations from the global semiconductor industry Tomokazu Arita and Philip McCann University of Tsukuba, Japan and University of Reading, UK 1. INTRODUCTION Over the last decade there has been a signiﬁcant growth in interest in the geographical behaviour of ﬁrms in the electronics and semiconductor industry. In particular, much research has focused on the apparent tendency of successful ﬁrms in these sectors to be highly clustered in particular locations (Oakey and Cooper, 1989; Saxenian, 1994; Almeida and Kogut, 1997; Kittiprapas and McCann, 1999). There is a variety of interrelated reasons for this recent research interest, which can broadly be grouped into two themes. The ﬁrst theme is a general renewal of academic interest in geography and industrial location issues per se, and the second theme is a growth in interest in the particular characteristics of the electronics and semiconductor industry itself. From the point of view of business research, these two themes imply that industrial clustering may provide newly increased possibilities for ﬁrms to use location strategies as a means of gaining access to geographically speciﬁc technology inputs. Certainly, much recent literature has pointed towards such conclusions for the electronics industry. The work of authors such as Scott (1988), Saxenian (1994), Castells and Hall (1994), and Larsen and Rogers (1984) argues that relative openness to local tacit information exchanges of Silicon Valley ﬁrms, many of which are small, allows them to beneﬁt from the positive...
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