Internationalisation of business clusters: the case of fruit processing clusters in Ghana

Ayakwah, Anthony (2016) Internationalisation of business clusters: the case of fruit processing clusters in Ghana. PhD thesis, Middlesex University. [Thesis]

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Since Alfred Marshall propounded industrial clusters, the study of spatial organisation over the years has revealed numerous benefits of agglomeration to businesses, countries and regions. Until recently, discussions on the gains associated with internationalising clusters have mainly been situated within the developed economy setting. The key drivers of exporting clusters have mostly been related to cases within more functioning institutional environments. However, factors responsible for driving exporting activities in clusters within developing economies’ setting are a current phenomenon in academic enquiry that has received minimal attention. Thus, the study aims to fill the knowledge gap by investigating the emergence of and dynamism within clusters, thereby understanding the key drivers of exporting fruit processing cluster activities in developing economies like Ghana.

The study focuses on spatial and internationalisation theories to draw out key concepts on networking and knowledge. The research adopts a mixed methods approach, using 99 surveys and 24 interviews, to empirically study actors in two fruit processing and exporting clusters. The findings show that, comparatively, palm processing businesses have a more socially embedded network structure that drives exporting activities in the cluster as opposed to the more formal business-like relationship in the pineapple cluster. As a result, parallel social institutions have emerged among the palm processing businesses which are enhancing their exporting capabilities. The findings also reveal how pineapple processors, due to their more outward-looking nature, have been able to externally acquire and transmit ‘tacit’ knowledge on MD2 pineapples through an entrepreneur ‘gatekeeper’. Further evidence shows that processing businesses in the pineapple cluster are mostly set up to internationalise from the onset due to the presence of external investors and the exposure of entrepreneurs to international markets. The results provide a compelling case of born global businesses within a developing economy setting.

The research contributes to extant theoretical development and understanding of the key drivers of exports within clustered businesses. Particularly, it emphasises the role spatial organisation plays in exporting clusters within the developing economy setting.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Research Areas: A. > Business School
Item ID: 21276
Depositing User: Jennifer Basford
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2017 14:43
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 21:28

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