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Spatial and Non-spatial Proximities in Inter-firm Relations: An Empirical Analysis


  • Anne Aguiléra
  • Virginie Lethiais
  • Alain Rallet


This article describes a variety of combinations with regard to proximities (spatial and non-spatial) in inter-firm relations, and identifies their main determinants. The data employed come from a survey of more than 1,400 small and medium-sized firms in the Brittany region (France), which describe the relationship with their principal partner. Apart from spatial distance between partners, three forms of non-spatial proximity are identified—cognitive, technological and organizational—which are assessed in terms of their role in the relations. A typology of the relationships based on forms of proximity identifies a wide variety of configurations, which depend primarily on the nature of the relationship, and especially on the need for coordination.

Suggested Citation

  • Anne Aguiléra & Virginie Lethiais & Alain Rallet, 2012. "Spatial and Non-spatial Proximities in Inter-firm Relations: An Empirical Analysis," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(3), pages 187-202, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:indinn:v:19:y:2012:i:3:p:187-202 DOI: 10.1080/13662716.2012.669609

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Luo, Yadong, 2006. "Opportunism in Inter-firm Exchanges in Emerging Markets," Management and Organization Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 2(01), pages 121-147, March.
    2. Bönte, Werner, 2008. "Inter-firm trust in buyer-supplier relations: Are knowledge spillovers and geographical proximity relevant?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 67(3-4), pages 855-870, September.
    3. Charles Dhanaraj & Marjorie A Lyles & H Kevin Steensma & Laszlo Tihanyi, 2004. "Managing tacit and explicit knowledge transfer in IJVs: the role of relational embeddedness and the impact on performance," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 35(5), pages 428-442, September.
    4. Yadong Luo, 2006. "Opportunism in Inter-firm Exchanges in Emerging Markets," Management and Organization Review, International Association of Chinese Management Research, vol. 2(1), pages 121-147, March.
    5. Giacomo Becattini & Marco Bellandi & Gabi Del Ottati & Fabio Sforzi, 2003. "From Industrial Districts to Local Development," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 2884.
    6. Parkhe, Arvind, 1998. "Understanding trust in international alliances," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 219-240, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Liu, Ju, 2014. "How Do Geographical and Organisational Proximity Influence the Relational Pattern of MNCs’ Global Innovation Networks: An In-depth Case Study," Papers in Innovation Studies 2014/16, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy.
    2. 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.
    3. Pier Paolo Angelini, "undated". "The role of inter-organizational proximity on the evolution of the European Aerospace R&D collaboration network," CERIS Working Paper 201402, Institute for Economic Research on Firms and Growth - Moncalieri (TO) ITALY -NOW- Research Institute on Sustainable Economic Growth - Moncalieri (TO) ITALY.
    4. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:1:p:282-:d:128075 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Martin, Roman & Wiig Aslesen, Heidi & Grillitsch, Markus & Herstad, Sverre, 2017. "Regional Innovation Systems and Global Flows of Knowledge," Papers in Innovation Studies 2017/7, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy.
    6. Villani, Elisa & Rasmussen, Einar & Grimaldi, Rosa, 2017. "How intermediary organizations facilitate university–industry technology transfer: A proximity approach," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 86-102.
    7. Liu , Ju & Liefner , Ingo, 2016. "The Joint Influencing Mechanism of Proximities and Knowledge Base on Multinational Companies’ Global Innovation Networks," Papers in Innovation Studies 2016/4, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy.

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