The Life Cycle of Clusters
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The Life Cycle of Clusters

A Policy Perspective

Edited by Dirk Fornahl and Robert Hassink

One-size-fits-all cluster policies have been rightly criticized in the literature. One promising approach is to focus cluster policies on the specific needs of firms depending on the stage of development (emergence, growth, sustainment or decline) their cluster is in. In this highly insightful book, these stage-specific cluster policies are analysed and evaluated. Moreover, several chapters also focus on smart specialization policies to promote regional development by taking into account the emergence and adaptation of clusters and industries.
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Chapter 4: Cluster policy: Renewal through the integration of institutional variety

Markus Grillitsch and Bjørn T. Asheim

Abstract

The literature on cluster evolution suggests that heterogeneity of firm capabilities and openness of network structures are essential for the renewal of mature and declining clusters. This chapter argues that the regional and institutional context in which clusters are embedded plays an important role for the renewal of clusters. It elaborates how the integration of institutional variety can stimulate the combination of different types of knowledge, learning and modes of innovation, thereby promoting cluster renewal. The conceptual argument is illustrated with a case study of the maritime cluster in Møre og Romsdal, Norway, which is one of the globally leading clusters in this industry. We find that key actors and policy play an important role in integrating institutional variety. Additionally, the case shows that institutional variety and the integration thereof can be a driving force for cluster renewal even in specialized and semi-peripheral locations.

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