Coordinating Clusters: A Cross Sectoral Study of Cluster Organization Functions in The Netherlands

Philipp J.P. Garbade, Frances T.J.M. Fortuin, Onno Omta


The present paper aims at answering the question how cluster organization functions are implemented in a high‐tech, a medium to high‐tech and a low to medium‐tech cluster. Data were collected by semi‐structured interviews from three clusters in the Netherlands, an agri‐food cluster (as an example of a low to medium‐tech cluster), a green biotech cluster (medium to high‐tech) and a high‐tech cluster. Concerning the cluster organization functions a number of similarities were found. For all three clusters it can be concluded that the network support function is considered to be very important. Sector independence can further be found concerning the innovation process support function, specifically regarding the promotion of the region as an attractive living and working area for highly qualified employees. The results also show a
number of clear differences among the investigated clusters. Only in the low‐to‐medium tech agri‐food cluster there was a clear need for internationalization support for SMEs to reach foreign markets. Only in the green biotech cluster the demand articulation was focused on the region where the cluster is based, which stands in contrast to the highly international orientation of the member companies. Only in the high‐tech innovation cluster technology road mapping was extensively used. This powerful tool, developed to align the innovation process at the company and sector level, impacted further on the execution of the demand articulation/ network formation support functions, and could also be helpful for the green biotech and the agri‐food clusters. Throughout the paper different cluster categorization schemes are besides the tech level are applied and give insights on their limitations and how to possibly deal with them in inter sectorial cluster comparison research.


cluster organization; regional innovation system; inter‐sectoral comparison

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ISSN 1869-6945


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