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Knowledge Flows through Informal Contacts in Industrial Clusters Myths or Realities?

  • Michael S. Dahl
  • Christian Ø.R. Pedersen

The role of informal networks in the development of regional clusters has received a lot of attention in the literature recently. Informal contact between employees in different firms is argued to be one of the main carriers of knowledge between firms in a cluster. This paper empirically examines the role of informal contacts in a specific cluster. In a recent questionnaire, we ask a sample of engineers in a regional cluster of wireless communication firms in Northern Denmark, a series of questions on informal networks. We analyze whether the engineers actually acquire valuable knowledge through these networks. We find that the engineers do share even valuable knowledge with informal contacts. This shows that informal contacts are important channels of knowledge diffusion.

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Paper provided by DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies in its series DRUID Working Papers with number 03-01.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:aal:abbswp:03-01
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.druid.dk/

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  1. Klepper, Steven, 2001. "Employee Startups in High-Tech Industries," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(3), pages 639-74, September.
  2. Paul Krugman, 1992. "Geography and Trade," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262610868, June.
  3. Cowan Robin & Jonard Nicolas, 2000. "The Dynamics of Collective Invention," Research Memorandum 018, Maastricht University, Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  4. Jaffe, A.B. & Trajtenberg, M., 1992. "Geographic Localization of Knowledge Spillovers as Evidenced by Patent Citations," Papers 14-92, Tel Aviv.
  5. Breschi, Stefano & Lissoni, Francesco, 2000. "Knowledge Spillovers And Local Innovation Systems: A Critical Survey," ERSA conference papers ersa00p362, European Regional Science Association.
  6. Audretsch, David B & Feldman, Maryann P, 1996. "R&D Spillovers and the Geography of Innovation and Production," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 630-40, June.
  7. Allen, Robert C., 1983. "Collective invention," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 1-24, March.
  8. Mark Lorenzen & Volker Mahnke, 2002. "Global Strategy and the Acquisition of Local Knowledge How MNCs Enter Regional Knowledge Clusters," DRUID Working Papers 02-08, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  9. Thomas J. Allen, 1984. "Managing the Flow of Technology: Technology Transfer and the Dissemination of Technological Information Within the R&D Organization," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262510278, June.
  10. Martin, Ron, 1999. "The New 'Geographical Turn' in Economics: Some Critical Reflections," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(1), pages 65-91, January.
  11. Lissoni, Francesco, 2001. "Knowledge codification and the geography of innovation: the case of Brescia mechanical cluster," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(9), pages 1479-1500, December.
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