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Collective Learning Processes, Networking and 'Institutional Thickness' in the Cambridge Region


  • David Keeble
  • Clive Lawson
  • Barry Moore
  • Frank Wilkinson


KEEBLE D., LAWSON C., MOORE B. and WILKINSON F. (1999) Collective learning processes, networking and 'institutional thickness' in the Cambridge region, Reg. Studies 33 , 319-332 . The paper investigates the nature and extent of regional collective learning processes and networking by innovative, technology based, small and medium sized enterprises(SMEs)in the Cambridge region. It highlights the importance of socio-cultural preconditions for learning involving the University of Cambridge, and documents the significance of firm spin-offs, inter-firm and organization networking, and local scientific and managerial recruitment, as dynamic collective learning processes. It also, however, identifies the complementary importance of wider national and global networks for SME innovation inputs, research collaboration and professional staff recruitment. Finally, it assesses the relevance of the concept of 'institutional thickness' in evaluating firms' experience of regional support structures and services. KEEBLE D., LAWSON C., MOORE B. et WILKINSON F. (1999) Les processus d'apprentissage collectif, la constitution de reseaux et l'appui institutionnel dans la region de Cambridge, Reg. Studies 33 , 319-332 . Cet article cherche a examiner le caractere et la portee des processus regionaux d'apprentissage collectif et la constitution de reseaux par les PME (petites et moyennes entreprises)de pointe situees dans la region de Cambridge. L'article souligne l'importance des prealables socio-culturelles a l'apprentissage concernant l'Universite de Cambridge, et decrit l'importance des retombe ´es des entreprises, la constitution de re ´seaux d'entreprises et d'organisations, et l'embauche local de techniciens et de cadres, comme processus d'apprentissage collectif dynamiques. Qui plus est, on identifie l'importance complementaire des reseaux nationaux et internationaux plus vastes en faveur de l'innovation, de la recherche en collaboration et de l'embauche des professionnels pour les PME. Pour conclure, on evalue le rapport entre la notion d'appui institutionnel et l'experience des entreprises quant aux reseaux de soutien et d'assistance technique regionaux. KEEBLE D., LAWSON C., MOORE B. und WILKINSON F. (1999) Kollektive Lernprozesse, Vernetzung und 'Dichte des Institutionenbestandes' im Cambridger Gebiet, Reg. Studies 33 , 319-332 . Dieser Aufsatz untersucht Natur und Ausmass regionaler kollektiver Lernprozesse und Vernetzung durch innovative, auf Technologie beruhende kleine und mittlere Unternehmen (small and medium-sized enterprises=SMEs) im Umkreis von Cambridge. Er wirft ein Schlaglicht auf die Bedeutung sozialkultureller Vorbedingungen fu ¨r die Aneignung von Kenntnissen, an der die Universita ¨t Cambridge beteiligt ist, und belegt jene, welche Firmenbeitra ¨ge, Vernetzung von Firmen und Organisationen, sowie Rekruitierung von wissenschaftlichem und leitendem Personal am Orte als dynamische kollektive Lernprozesses leisten. Er stellt jedoch auch die komplimenta ¨re Bedeutung heraus, welche weiter gefasste Netzwerke auf Landes-und globaler Ebene fu ¨r Innovationsaufwand, Zusammenarbeit bei Forschungsvorhaben und der Rekrutierung professionellem Personals fu ¨r kleine und mittlere Betriebe haben. Schliessich beurteilt der Aufsatz die Relevanz des Begriffes 'Dichte des Bestandes an Institutionen' bei der Bewertung von Firmenerfahrungen mit regionalen Unterstu ¨tzungsstrukturen und-diensten.

Suggested Citation

  • David Keeble & Clive Lawson & Barry Moore & Frank Wilkinson, 1999. "Collective Learning Processes, Networking and 'Institutional Thickness' in the Cambridge Region," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(4), pages 319-332.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:regstd:v:33:y:1999:i:4:p:319-332
    DOI: 10.1080/713693557

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bjørn T. Asheim, 2007. "Industrial Districts as ‘Learning Regions’: A Condition for Prosperity," Chapters,in: The Learning Region, chapter 4 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. P Cooke & M G Uranga & G Etxebarria, 1998. "Regional systems of innovation: an evolutionary perspective," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 30(9), pages 1563-1584, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gomez, Georgina M. & Helmsing, A.H.J., 2008. "Selective Spatial Closure and Local Economic Development: What Do We Learn from the Argentine Local Currency Systems?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(11), pages 2489-2511, November.
    2. Ivarsson, Inge & Jonsson, Thommy, 2003. "Local technological competence and asset-seeking FDI: an empirical study of manufacturing and wholesale affiliates in Sweden," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 369-386, June.
    3. Kevin P. Heanue & David Jacobson, 2007. "Embeddedness and innovation in low and medium tech rural enterprises," Working Papers 0702, Rural Economy and Development Programme,Teagasc.
    4. 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.


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