Do clusters capabilities matter? An empirical application of the resource-based view in clusters

The resource-based view (RBV) of the firm has been applied to territories, although academia has not frequently undertaken exploration of RBV applied to clusters in an empirical base. The goal of this paper aims at empirically translating RBV to the territory with a double objective. First, the work seeks to understand which are the cluster’s resources and capabilities. Second, the paper evaluates whether a cluster’s unique set of resources and capabilities could influence a cluster’s performance. Research is applied to leading European ceramic tile clusters located in Spain (Castellon) and Italy (Emilia-Romagna). Comparing clusters in the same industry allows benchmarking and the metrics make more sense. Secondary data and face-to-face semi-structured interviews with managers from the R&D Institutes, institutional agents and Castellon (59) and Emilian (19) firms assess a cluster’s resources and capabilities. The employed variables address skilled labour availability, social capital, linkages, business sophistication and network effects. In addition, and through the utilization of financial and productivity data the work analyses whether there are performance differences. Results indicate that clusters have a unique set of resources and capabilities and a certain performance level. On the whole, a cluster’s unique set of resources and capabilities matter. The paper offers a methodological approach to tackle empirically the RBV application to clusters.

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