سرمایه اجتماعی منطقه ای: تعبیه شده بودن، شبکه های نوآوری و توسعه اقتصادی منطقه ای
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|6938||2007||13 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||7383 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Volume 74, Issue 9, November 2007, Pages 1834–1846
Technology is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for regional economic development. Regional innovation networks transform technology into competitiveness of firms and thus contribute to economic development. Intangible assets, such as social capital, decide how effective regional innovation networks function. Differences in regional social capital thus help explain regional differences in economic development. Regional social capital originates from the embeddedness of firms in regional webs of social relations. The norms, values and customs of these networks facilitate collaboration for mutual benefit. As innovation is increasingly a network effort, embeddedness and social capital also help explain how and why networks of innovating companies are successful, as the case study of the Stimulus Cluster Scheme shows.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
In the literature, convincing arguments are abundant that innovation contributes to economic development (e.g., ,  and ). As argued at the beginning of this paper, innovative firms are more competitive, they create more jobs, pay higher wages and more taxes. All that serves to benefit economic development. However, the question is, who get to benefit from this economic development? This is not necessarily the home region of the innovative and competitive firms, not even if the region is rich in technology. The problem is one of levels of analysis. Economic development is a characteristic of regions whereas innovation is a process that takes place in and between firms. For the region to benefit from the innovation activities of its firms, several conditions have to be met. In the first place, regional firms must collaborate on innovation in regional networks, that is, in networks with many regional partners. Of course, these regional innovation networks will benefit from links to the global economy, but regional innovation networks are found in all developed regions . Second, regional innovation networks must tap into regional sources of innovation, or tangible assets of the region. This may be in the form of linkages with regional knowledge centres — where knowledge is not restricted to merely technology. Developed regions often have at least one field of technology in which they are strong  and . Other tangible assets that regional firms must tap into are the regional labour market and regional demand for innovative products and services. If regional customers and clients are very demanding this will trigger firms to be innovative  and . But just how effective regional innovation networks are in turning these tangible assets into economic development depends on the region's intangible assets, i.e., its social capital. To a large extent, innovation is a process of collaboration for mutual benefit  and . The outcome of this process depends on how smoothly firm collaborate and this is where regional social capital, as discussed in the previous section, is of crucial importance. Technology, thus, is a necessary condition for regional economic development but it is through regional innovation networks that technology is transformed into prosperity and it is regional social capital that decides how affective this transformation evolves. The implication of this for regional economic theory is that embeddedness should feature far more prominently than is currently the case. Evolutionary theory and regional network theories offer the best opportunities to do so. In the traditional theories, too, embeddedness could be given a more prominent place. Actually, these three groups of theories are often fused in the literature. For example, our recent edited volume on learning regions  shows that scholars working in the field of economic geography do not restrict themselves to a single theory. The transaction cost theory and other rational choice-based theories are far more difficult to reconcile with embeddedness theory, if it is possible at all (cf. ). The rational choice-based theories focus too much on the level of the individual and have a too simplistic conceptualization of human behaviour as they try to sever human beings from their social context . Giving embeddedness a more prominent place allows to distinguish more properly between three important levels of analysis, i.e., that of the individual actors (human agents of firms), networks of firms and the region. As argued in the previous, embeddedness theory, of which social capital is an important element, sheds light on the theoretical mechanism of how the behaviour of individual actors is affected by the embeddedness of these actors in a web of social relations (for example, networks) and a wider social context (for example, the region as a society). Based on this mechanism theoretical arguments can be developed as to how the behaviour of individual firms in regional networks may contribute to the creation of economic development on a regional level. On the level of firms and networks the causal mechanisms that lead competitiveness are well understood. On the regional level the relation between tangible and intangible assets, on the one hand, and regional economic development, on the other hand, is also understood. Embeddedness theory offers a conceptual opportunity to connect both levels on the basis of a realistic view of human behaviour. In sum, regional economic theory should focus more prominently on relations between actors and on how these relations affect the (economic) behaviour of actors. Though different theories may find different ways of incorporating such a “relational” approach, the advantages of such an approach are increasingly recognized in the literature (cf. ). The example of the Stimulus Cluster Scheme clearly shows this. In this example, the level of analysis was the networks, i.e., the clusters and the wider (social) networks in which the companies were embedded. This perspective offered a richer explanation of why the clusters were as successful as they were. That is, embeddedness and social capital helped companies achieve this success. The success of the cluster scheme made the participating companies more competitive and strengthened the (social) networks of companies in the Eindhoven region. In this way, the cluster scheme contributed to the economic development of the Eindhoven region. The managerial implications of the above are more straightforward, which should not be confused with easy to implement. From the perspective of this article, the crucial gap to bridge is not so much the gap between technology foresight and market research. Developing new products, as was the case in the Stimulus Cluster Scheme, requires both and the companies in the various clusters had made certain that each cluster possessed the necessary competences. The important gap from our perspective is the one between technological and economic skills, on the one hand, and network skills, which lead to embeddedness and social capital, on the other hand. Companies that are experts in their field may still find themselves isolated if they are insufficiently embedded and, therefore, have insufficient social capital. In today's network economy this is something which companies can ill-afford. Taking embeddedness and social capital seriously demands investing in relationships. When pressed for money and other resources this may require more than a bit of courage from managers.