Summer Conference 2009


The Importance of Nested Scales to National Systems of Innovation: A Cross-National Comparison of the UK and Ireland

Michele Mastroeni
Kingston Business School

Enda Hannon
Kingston Business School

Catherine Truss
Kingston Business School

Edel Conway
Dublin City University

Patrick Flood
Dublin City University

Grainne Kelly
Dublin City University

Kathy Monks
Dublin City University

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     Last modified: February 28, 2009

Abstract
The importance given to innovation as a source of economic growth has led to governments of all persuasions to try to improve the context within which innovation occurs. Policy efforts are aimed at improving the different components of innovation systems to attract innovative firms, and investors, encourage knowledge creation and knowledge exchange; given these efforts, there is clearly a need for policy analysis to gauge their effectiveness.
In this paper, we propose a holistic approach for exploring and conceptualising innovation policy and its effects on innovation within the firm. In doing so, this paper addresses three key areas. The first is a reintroduction of the concept of ‘nested scales’ for multi-level analysis and its utility in the study of a single innovation system. This approach allows for the disaggregation of the different components of a system of innovation, how each component may be influenced by local, regional, national and international factors, and how these affect the behaviour of actors and the system structures. The second objective is to demonstrate the utility of a ‘nested scales’ approach in a case-to-case comparison and how it can reveal similarities or differences in concerns and policy solutions to improving systems of innovation. The third objective is to show how, by using a nested scales approach with comparative case studies, new policy solutions may come to light. The cases of Ireland and Britain will be compared to meet these objectives.



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