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Organizational learning in clusters: A case study on material and immaterial dimensions of cooperation


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  • Michael Steiner
  • Christian Hartmann
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    Steiner M. and Hartmann C. (2006) Organizational learning in clusters: a case study on material and immaterial dimensions of cooperation, Regional Studies 40, 493-506. The aim of the paper is to give empirically based insights into forms and mechanisms of knowledge management and learning within clusters. Taking the case of five specific clusters from the Austrian province of Styria, the paper looks at differences in their learning behaviour. Based on theories of (organizational) learning, the paper investigates learning systems and their particular forms at cluster level, differentiating especially between informal and participative learning. By means of a survey and in-depth interviews with firms of the clusters, different patterns of learning according to the specific technology and product orientation of the clusters and their different needs for specific forms of knowledge can be found. Each cluster shows distinct patterns of learning and uses different sources of knowledge. Also, patterns of substitution between these sources can be revealed. The prevalence of ongoing learning processes indicates the importance of institutional arrangements such as clusters for the generation of knowledge. Steiner M. et Hartmann C. (2006) L'apprentissage organisationnel en grappes: une etude de cas des dimensions materielle et immaterielle de la cooperation, Regional Studies 40, 493-506. Cet article cherche a fournir des regards empiriques sur des formes et des mecanismes concernant la gestion de la connaissance et de l'apprentissage en grappes. A partir de cinq regroupements specifiques a la province autrichienne de Styrie, on fait une enquete sur les differences de leur comportement d'apprentissage. A partir des theories d'apprentissage (organisationnel), on examine des systemes d'apprentissage et leurs formes particulieres a l'echelle des grappes, en faisant la distinction en particulier entre l'apprentissage informel et l'apprentissage inclusif. A partir d'une enquete et des inteviews detaillees aupres des entreprises qui font partie des grappes et il en resulte des structures d'apprentissage differentes selon la technologie specifique et l'orientation de produit des grappes, leur besoin de formes paticulieres de connaissance. Chacune des grappes montre des structures d'apprentissage claires et emploie des sources de connaissance differentes. A l'egard de ces sources-ci, il s'avere aussi des effets de substitution. La predominance des processus d'apprentissage continus laisse indiquer l'importance des dispositions institutionnelles, comme des grappes, pour la production de la connaissance. Apprentissage organisationnel, Reseaux de connaissance, Grappes, Geographie de l'innovation, Gestion de la connaissance Steiner M. und Hartmann C. (2006) Organisatorisches Lernen in Clustern:Eine Fallstudie materieller und immaterieller Dimensionen der Kooperation, Regional Studies 40, 493-506. Dieser Aufsatz beabsichigt, empirisch begrundete Einsichten in Formen und Mechanismen der U berschaubarkeit und des Lernens in Clustern zu vermitteln. Unterschiede im Lernverhalten werden am Beispiel von funf spezifischen Clustern in der osterreichischen Provinz Steiermark untersucht, gestu tzt auf Theorien uber (organisatorisches) Lernen, welche Lernsysteme und die ihnen eigenen Formen auf Clusterebene untersuchen, und besonders zwischen informalem und partizipativem Lernen unterscheiden. Die Erstellung eines Fragebogens und eingehende Interviews mit Firmen der Cluster gestatten, nicht nur nach spezifischer Technik und Erzeugnisausrichtung der Cluster, sondern auch ihren unterschiedlichen Bedu rfnissen spezifischer Wissensformen entgegenkommende unterschiedliche Lernformen festzustellen. Jeder Cluster wies deutlich erkennbare Lernmuster auf,und bedient sich verschiedener Wissensquellen. Es konnen sich auch Muster des Austausches von Quellen ergeben. Die Haufigkeit andauernder Lernprozesse weist auf Bedeutung institutioneller Einrichtungen wie Clustern zum Zwecke der Wissensbildung hin. Organisatorisches Lernen, Wissensnetzwerke, Cluster, Geographie der Innovation, Wissensmanagement Steiner M. y Hartmann C. (2006) Aprendizaje organizativo en agrupaciones: Un caso practico sobre las dimensiones materiales e inmateriales de cooperacion, Regional Studies 40, 493-506. El objetivo de este ensayo es ofrecer una perspectiva empirica de los modos y mecanismos de la gestion del conocimiento y el aprendizaje en agrupaciones. Tomando como ejemplo cinco agrupaciones concretas de la provincia austriaca de Estiria, observamos que diferencias hay en el comportamiento del aprendizaje. Basandonos en las teorias de aprendizaje (organizativo), investigamos los sistemas de aprendizaje y sus metodos en concreto segun una estructura de agrupaciones diferenciando especialmente entre el aprendizaje informal y el participativo. Mediante un estudio y entrevistas exhaustivas con empresas de aglomeracion, observamos diferentes modelos de aprendizaje, segun la tecnologia especifica y la orientacion de productos de las agrupaciones y sus diferentes necesidades para formas especificas de conocimientos. Cada una de las aglomeraciones presenta distintos modelos de aprendizaje y utiliza diferentes fuentes de conocimientos. Tambien se revelan modelos de sustitucion entre estas fuentes. La incidencia de procesos continuos de aprendizaje indica lo importante que son los acuerdos institucionales, como las agrupaciones, para generar el conocimiento. Aprendizaje organizativo, Redes de conocimiento, Agrupaciones, Geografia de innovacion, Gestion del conocimiento

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Regional Studies.

    Volume (Year): 40 (2006)
    Issue (Month): 5 ()
    Pages: 493-506

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    Handle: RePEc:taf:regstd:v:40:y:2006:i:5:p:493-506

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    Keywords: Organizational learning; Knowledge networks; Clusters; Geography of innovation; Knowledge management;


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    1. Maskell, Peter & Malmberg, Anders, 1999. "Localised Learning and Industrial Competitiveness," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(2), pages 167-85, March.
    2. Cappellin, Riccardo & Steiner, Michael, 2002. "Enlarging the scale of knowledge in innovation networks: theoretical perspectives and policy issues," ERSA conference papers ersa02p506, European Regional Science Association.
    3. Michael Storper & Anthony J. Venables, 2003. "Buzz: Face-to-Face Contact and the Urban Economy," CEP Discussion Papers dp0598, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
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    Cited by:
    1. Rachel Bocquet & Caroline Mothe, 2010. "Knowledge governance within clusters: the case of small firms," Post-Print hal-00920052, HAL.
    2. Fiorenza Belussi & Silvia R. Sedita, 2012. "Industrial Districts as Open Learning Systems: Combining Emergent and Deliberate Knowledge Structures," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(2), pages 165-184, April.
    3. Gadille, Martine & MÉhaut, Philippe & courault, Bruno, 2013. "Compétences et régulation des marchés du travail dans les pôles de compétitivité : le cas du pôle Pégase," Revue d'économie régionale et urbaine, Editions NecPlus, vol. 2013(02), pages 339-361, June.
    4. Vermeire, Bert & Gellynck, Xavier, 2007. "Contribution of Cluster Relations to Food Competitiveness in the EU," 2007 1st Forum, February 15-17, 2007, Innsbruck, Austria 6583, International European Forum on Innovation and System Dynamics in Food Networks.
    5. Anja Cotic Svetina & Igor Prodan, 2008. "How Internal and External Sources of Knowledge Contribute to Firms’ Innovation Performance," Managing Global Transitions, University of Primorska, Faculty of Management Koper, vol. 6(3), pages 277-299.


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