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Networks of Learning within the English Wine Industry: Communitarian, Distanciated, Organisational, and Redundant


  • Simon Turner


The literature on industrial districts (also referred to as business clusters) has grown out of recognition that spatial proximity among firms supports the formation and exchange of knowledge within an industry and is therefore a source of competitive advantage. While such a ‘territorial’ perspective on interfirm relationships is valuable in highlighting the informal means through which firms can gain access to innovative knowledge, localised perspectives have received criticism from a number of quarters. This paper aims to evaluate the relevance of ‘territorial’ processes – untraded, informal, and localised relationships – for producing learning in industrial districts, when situated within a ‘relational’ perspective that also recognises the role of firm-specific strategies in shaping the learning practices that take place within industrial districts. The research explores the role of both territorial and non-territorial interfirm relationships within industrial districts using empirical evidence drawn from interviews with small enterprises working within the English wine industry of southern England. The findings suggest that the development of non-local knowledge links and formal interfirm arrangements by leading firms within the industrial district are starting to displace the extant communitarian logic of learning within the English wine industry.

Suggested Citation

  • Simon Turner, 2009. "Networks of Learning within the English Wine Industry: Communitarian, Distanciated, Organisational, and Redundant," Working Papers wp386, Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge.
  • Handle: RePEc:cbr:cbrwps:wp386
    Note: PRO-2

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. repec:mes:jeciss:v:30:y:1996:i:4:p:1212-1216 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Giuliani, Elisa & Bell, Martin, 2005. "The micro-determinants of meso-level learning and innovation: evidence from a Chilean wine cluster," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 47-68, February.
    3. Amin, Ash & Roberts, Joanne, 2008. "Knowing in action: Beyond communities of practice," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 353-369, March.
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    More about this item


    interfirm networks; communities of practice; English wine industry;

    JEL classification:

    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D


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