Informations and abstract
Keywords: Regional Innovation, Social Capital, Trust, Cluster Management
Innovation within clusters is a significant aspect in regional development. The role of social capital and absorptive capacity in leveraging both exploratory and exploitive innovation has widely been emphasized in economic geography and regional studies. Social interaction, in fact, affects the opportunity to identify and select new knowledge sources, while absorptive capacity is crucial to create firms' dynamic capabilities and positively impact on innovation process. However, whether cluster management and trust can facilitate and better coordinate social interactions between its members or between members and external actors, enough to increase innovation capacity of firms within cluster, has not been adequately investigated yet. The paper provides some interesting evidences on importance of absorptive capacity, formal and informal social interaction mechanisms to support exploratory and exploitative innovation processes, based on the analysis of a sample of firms belonging to twelve cluster of six European countries. Our findings show that local trustful relationships effect on exploitative more than explorative innovation development. Differently, cluster management contributes only marginally to the innovation capacities of firms within cluster and its contribution is specific of some clusters' contextual conditions.