Competitive or cooperative relationships in clusters: a comparative study of two internationalising agro-processing clusters in Ghana

Ayakwah, Anthony and Sepulveda, Leandro and Lyon, Fergus (2018) Competitive or cooperative relationships in clusters: a comparative study of two internationalising agro-processing clusters in Ghana. Critical Perspectives on International Business, 14 (2/3). pp. 230-251. ISSN 1742-2043

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Abstract

An efficient policy supporting clustered business operations necessitates an appreciation of the dynamics of rivalry and collaborations among businesses. This paper postulates that variation in competition and cooperation can significantly influence the nature of business relationships among clustered businesses, which is essential for cluster policy particularly (Newland, 2003) as most research on rivalry and cooperation in clusters have been in developed economies. This paper seeks to fill this gap in the literature in African clusters based on original empirical research.
The study adopts a mixed method research design allowing for data triangulation to study two food processing clusters. The approach comprises a survey and in-depth interview with key actors along the supply chain.

The findings show that business clusters with more formal business structures tend to have minimal horizontal competition but higher vertical cooperation. Comparatively, clusters with more socially embedded milieu tend to have higher levels of cooperation and minimal competition in both vertical and horizontal relationships. The research also shows that such variations in inter-business relationships have an effect on cluster operations in terms of business access to finance, formal contract, sharing of innovation and the way they relate to different stakeholders in their supply chain.

This paper advances a critical case for international business theory on clusters in Africa to incorporate the distinctive business relationships in SME clusters. It also demonstrates how unique location-specific attributes of developing economies hold the key to sustaining the operations of SME-based clusters.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > Business School > Centre for Enterprise and Economic Development Research (CEEDR)
Item ID: 22988
Notes on copyright: This article is © Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear here (https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/). Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited. This is the accepted version of the manuscript "Competitive or cooperative relationships in clusters: a comparative study of two internationalising agro-processing clusters in Ghana", published in the journal "Critical Perspectives on International Business" available via the journal site at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/cpoib-12-2016-0063
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Depositing User: Pamela Macaulay
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2017 13:20
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2018 15:57
URI: http://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/22988

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