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

  • Simon Turner
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    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.

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    Paper provided by ESRC Centre for Business Research in its series ESRC Centre for Business Research - Working Papers with number wp386.

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    Date of creation: Jun 2009
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    Handle: RePEc:cbr:cbrwps:wp386
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    1. 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.
    2. 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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