The logics underlying cluster dynamics and strategies of inter-firm collaboration
GRANEM, University of Angers, France
GRAICO, IUT of Mulhouse
Last modified: February 27, 2009
This paper aims at modeling the dynamics of industrial clusters. It is argued that two complementary logics lie at the root of a cluster’s dynamics. The professional logic corresponds to the capacity of firms to identify common objectives of immediate interest and to collaborate for their attainment on a short-term time horizon. The historic logic corresponds to the construction of patrimonial alliances participating to the coordination of the members of the industrial network through the multiplication of informal contacts and of tacit mutual assistance agreements. This logic rests on the construction of trustworthy relations, thus requiring long-term relationships. Central to this paper is the claim that the dynamics of industrial cluster is determined by the possible tension existing between both logics. We construct a simulation in order to better assess the consequences of the adoption of those two logics and as a key finding we notice the emergence of different network characteristics associated with a given logic. Favoring the professional logic gives rise to the multiplication of partnership among firms (corresponding to high degree values in the network), whereas the professional logic is associated with lower degrees: firms select partners they intensively collaborate with. Furthermore, the network is much more centralized and sees the emergence of a clear hierarchy of leading firms.