Edited by Léo-Paul Dana
Chapter 12: Learning, Innovation and Globalization: The Competitive Advantage of Collaborative Entrepreneurship
Harry Matlay and Jay Mitra Small, innovative ﬁrms are best placed to pursue global competitive advantage when they choose to operate within industrial clusters. This chapter investigates entrepreneurship in existing and emerging clusters in the United Kingdom and Italy. The authors argue that cluster-based enterprises not only make optimum use of global markets, strategic alliances and niche opportunities, but also enable wider, regional linkages for the clusters within which they operate (Mitra and Matlay, 2002). Locally deﬁned, strategic connections, linkages and partnerships are the key factors that distinguish clusters from other forms of business collaborations (Beccatini, 1989; Camagni, 1991; Porter, 1998; Enright, 1998; Cooke and Morgan, 1998; Mitra, 2000). The nature of related linkages – between ﬁrms, customers, suppliers, distributors, agencies and across sectoral boundaries – inﬂuence the scope and purpose of a variety of entrepreneurial activities and determine the eﬀectiveness of organizational competitiveness at local, national and international levels. The scale and intensity of entrepreneurship at each of these levels is perceived to change strategically, as a result of a continuum of learning, as ﬁrms weave their distinctive patterns of innovation, growth and competitiveness (Mitra and Matlay, 2000; Cullen and Matlay, 1999; Leonard, 1998). The quest for sustainable competitive advantage manifests itself in the distinctive and diﬀerentiating use of labour and intermediate inputs as well as a propensity for collective learning (Mitra, 2000; Matlay, 2000; Nachum and Keeble, 1999). Research evidence suggests that the learning process is as much a function of entrepreneurship as it is of...
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