Chapter 2: Resources and Innovation in Low-tech Industries: An Empirical Study of Clusters in Spain and Italy
José L. Hervas-Oliver and José Albors INTRODUCTION 1. This chapter develops a theoretical framework for identifying the cornerstones of the resource-based view of the firm, or RBV (Barney, 1991; Peteraf, 1993), in its application to clusters. We therefore seek to develop a general model of the performance of resources and clusters, integrating the various strands of research and providing a sound theoretical framework to support further work. We use the terms ‘clusters’ and ‘industrial districts’ synonymously, although we recognize differences in the concepts, which are especially due to the social aspects frequently observed in industrial districts. The chapter basically refers to industrial districts, and thus the linkages between the local actors and the social capital, which act as a moderating factor, are especially important. The RBV posits a correspondence between a firm’s unique set of resources and capabilities and its level of performance. The theory may also be conceptually extended to the levels of geographic regions and industrial clusters (Harrison, 1994; Enright, 1995; Foss, 1996; Lawson, 1999:158; Maskell and Malmberg, 1999:173) because regions contain higher order capabilities (Foss, 1996) available to firms located within them. These higher order capabilities help to explain a firm’s internal resources (Lawson, 1999; Maskell and Malmberg, 1999) to the extent that the resources of firms cannot be understood without considering their regional situation (Lawson, 1999). Nevertheless, only a few studies have evaluated the RBV in clusters, and these are limited to comparing agglomeration areas with scattered firms (for example, Giner and Santa Maria,...
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