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Too close to collaborate? How geographic proximity could impede entrepreneurship and innovation

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  • Ben Letaifa, Soumaya
  • Rabeau, Yves

Abstract

Numerous studies focus on successful clusters to demonstrate that geographic proximity enables collaboration and innovation. Yet, practitioners still need to understand why some clusters fail to collaborate despite their geographic proximity. This longitudinal study investigates an ICT public–private innovation cluster that fails to collaborate and explores how geographic, institutional, organizational, cognitive and social proximities interplay. The findings show that: (1) social proximity is the most important proximity to achieving collaboration; (2) close geographic proximity can be a barrier to social proximity; and (3) geographic distance is seen as an accelerator of entrepreneurship and innovation. These findings contribute to the literature on clusters and innovation by arguing that contexts of high cognitive, organizational, institutional and geographic proximities do not facilitate communication and collaboration. Specifically, geographic proximity can have a negative impact on social proximity. Finally the paper illustrates that clusters created by economic policies are less prone to innovation compared to spontaneous ecosystems emerging from private entrepreneurial initiatives.

Suggested Citation

  • Ben Letaifa, Soumaya & Rabeau, Yves, 2013. "Too close to collaborate? How geographic proximity could impede entrepreneurship and innovation," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 66(10), pages 2071-2078.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jbrese:v:66:y:2013:i:10:p:2071-2078
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2013.02.033
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Steinmo, Marianne & Rasmussen, Einar, 2016. "How firms collaborate with public research organizations: The evolution of proximity dimensions in successful innovation projects," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 1250-1259.
    2. Wang, Jue & Liu, Xiaming & Wei, Yingqi & Wang, Chengang, 2014. "Cultural Proximity and Local Firms’ catch up with Multinational Enterprises," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 1-13.
    3. repec:wsi:ijimxx:v:21:y:2017:i:03:n:s1363919617500232 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Ben Letaifa, Soumaya & Goglio-Primard, Karine, 2016. "How does institutional context shape entrepreneurship conceptualizations?," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(11), pages 5128-5134.
    5. Rune Dahl Fitjar & Franz Huber & Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, 2016. "Not too close, not too far: testing the Goldilocks principle of ‘optimal’ distance in innovation networks," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(6), pages 465-487, August.
    6. Basco, Rodrigo, 2015. "Family business and regional development—A theoretical model of regional familiness," Journal of Family Business Strategy, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 259-271.
    7. Briggs, Kristie, 2015. "Co-owner relationships conducive to high quality joint patents," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(8), pages 1566-1573.
    8. Lazzeretti, Luciana & Capone, Francesco, 2016. "How proximity matters in innovation networks dynamics along the cluster evolution. A study of the high technology applied to cultural goods," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(12), pages 5855-5865.
    9. Greco, Marco & Grimaldi, Michele & Cricelli, Livio, 2017. "Hitting the nail on the head: Exploring the relationship between public subsidies and open innovation efficiency," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 213-225.
    10. Xavier Molina-Morales, F. & Belso-Martínez, José A. & Más-Verdú, Francisco & Martínez-Cháfer, Luis, 2015. "Formation and dissolution of inter-firm linkages in lengthy and stable networks in clusters," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 68(7), pages 1557-1562.

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