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To be different, or to be the same? An exploratory study of isomorphism in the cluster

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  • Tan, Justin
  • Shao, Yunfei
  • Li, Wan

Abstract

Entrepreneurial firms are argued to struggle between being different and being the same. To join the debate, we asked this question: How can entrepreneurial firms in a geographically concentrated locale gain both competitive advantage and legitimacy, given the competitive pressures for differentiation and the institutional pressures for conformity? Drawing from the network perspective, we conducted the research in a furniture cluster in Southwestern China. Based on qualitative and quantitative data, we found that peripheral firms tended to be institutionally and competitively isomorphic, while central firms could avoid the tradeoff between institutional conformity and competitive differentiation by creating and using their networks to innovate and at the same time to shape the institutional environment.

Suggested Citation

  • Tan, Justin & Shao, Yunfei & Li, Wan, 2013. "To be different, or to be the same? An exploratory study of isomorphism in the cluster," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 83-97.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jbvent:v:28:y:2013:i:1:p:83-97
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jbusvent.2012.02.003
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Diana Claudia SALA & Madalina Dumitrita MATICIUC & Valentin Partenie MUNTEANU, 2016. "Clusters Influence On Competitiveness. Evidences From European Union Countries," Proceedings of the INTERNATIONAL MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE, Faculty of Management, Academy of Economic Studies, Bucharest, Romania, vol. 10(1), pages 10-17, November.
    2. Liao, Tsai-Ju, 2015. "Local clusters of SOEs, POEs, and FIEs, international experience, and the performance of foreign firms operating in emerging economies," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 66-76.
    3. Huanmei Li & Graciela Zubielqui & Allan O’Connor, 2015. "Entrepreneurial networking capacity of cluster firms: a social network perspective on how shared resources enhance firm performance," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 45(3), pages 523-541, October.
    4. Mollick, Ethan, 2014. "The dynamics of crowdfunding: An exploratory study," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 1-16.
    5. Kotabe, Masaaki & Kothari, Tanvi, 2016. "Emerging market multinational companies’ evolutionary paths to building a competitive advantage from emerging markets to developed countries," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 51(5), pages 729-743.
    6. van Werven, Ruben & Bouwmeester, Onno & Cornelissen, Joep P., 2015. "The power of arguments: How entrepreneurs convince stakeholders of the legitimate distinctiveness of their ventures," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 616-631.
    7. Jiang Wei & Minfei Zhou & Mark Greeven & Hongyan Qu, 2016. "Economic governance, dual networks and innovative learning in five Chinese industrial clusters," Asia Pacific Journal of Management, Springer, vol. 33(4), pages 1037-1074, December.
    8. Joern H. Block & Christian O. Fisch & Mirjam van Praag, 2016. "The Schumpeterian Entrepreneur: A Review of the Empirical Evidence on the Antecedents, Behavior, and Consequences of Innovative Entrepreneurship," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 16-072/VII, Tinbergen Institute.
    9. Cécile Fonrouge & Sophie Reboud & Franck Vigneron, 2013. "« Luxury entrepreneurship » ou l’entrepreneuriat du luxe : des opportunités de demain pour des activités « human push » ?," Post-Print halshs-01211609, HAL.

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