Edited by John R. Bryson and Peter W. Daniels
Chapter 17: Understanding the Relationship between Information Communications Technology and the Behaviour of Firms Located in Regional Clusters
17 Understanding the relationship between information and communication technology and the behaviour of ﬁrms located in regional clusters Grete Rusten and John R. Bryson Introduction The growth of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and their application in the economy has played an important role in the ways in which ﬁrms are organised and orientated in the marketplace. Boundaries between organisations are becoming increasingly blurred as new forms of organising production develop, facilitated and enabled by ICT. Organisations ‘are becoming increasingly integrated into dynamic networks connected by time–space compressing information and communication technologies’ (Grimshaw et al., 2005: 1). ICT enables ﬁrms to be part of distributed networks of relationships with other ﬁrms and resource providers. In an increasingly competitive business environment, organisational survival is partially dependent on the quality and strength of a ﬁrm’s connections or relationships with other ﬁrms and institutions. Cairncross (1997) argues that the digital revolution is associated with the death of distance as new technologies increase accessibility. Nevertheless, many economic activities remain geographically concentrated and some co-located ﬁrms are part of a fully functioning localised cluster. According to Porter (2000) a cluster is deﬁned as a relatively concentrated agglomeration of ﬁrms and organisations that are integrated through business transactions, collaboration, rivalry and knowledge transfer. Firms located in a cluster beneﬁt from being geographically and socially close to one another as well as being able to exploit locally developed cluster-supporting infrastructure (local institutions, for example training establishments, local supply networks, access to raw materials) and...
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