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Knowledge Sourcing Beyond Buzz and Pipelines: Evidence from the Vienna Software Sector


  • Michaela Trippl
  • Franz Tödtling
  • Lukas Lengauer


This article examines the nature and geography of knowledge linkages in the Vienna software cluster. Empirical studies on the software sector have provided contradictory evidence of the relative importance of different sources of knowledge, the spatial dimension of exchanges of knowledge, and the relevance of different channels for the transmission of knowledge. Recent conceptual work on the geography of knowledge linkages has highlighted that the innovative dynamics of clusters rests on both local and global knowledge flows, that is, the combination of "local buzz" and "global pipelines." However, the buzz-and-pipelines approach fails to provide a precise understanding of the mechanisms by which actors in a cluster gain access to knowledge at different spatial scales. This article goes beyond the buzz-and-pipelines concept and suggests a differentiated typology of knowledge linkages, distinguishing among market relations, formal networks, spillovers, and informal networks. Drawing on a survey of firms and face-to-face interviews with representatives of companies, we demonstrate that in the Vienna software industry, knowledge flows are informal. We found that spillovers and informal networks are highly significant at all spatial scales and are complemented by formalized research-and-development partnerships at the local and national levels. We also show that the character of knowledge linkages is dependent on the nature of innovation. The more radical the innovation, the larger the variety of sources of knowledge and the stronger the diversity of the mechanisms for transferring knowledge. Copyright (c) 2009 Clark University.

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  • Michaela Trippl & Franz Tödtling & Lukas Lengauer, 2009. "Knowledge Sourcing Beyond Buzz and Pipelines: Evidence from the Vienna Software Sector," Economic Geography, Clark University, vol. 85(4), pages 443-462, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecgeog:v:85:y:2009:i:4:p:443-462

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jane S. Pollard, 2003. "Small firm finance and economic geography," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(4), pages 429-452, October.
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