Drawing on extensive academic research concerning clusters and networks, this paper seeks to create a framework capable of reviewing and monitoring different aspects of clusters and networks on an ongoing basis. The nine-element framework allows evaluation of the structures and processes for the eight basic cluster types identified from the literature. The use of this framework as a complimentary tool to the Multi-sectoral Qualitative Analysis (MSQA) methodology is then demonstrated using three examples (the construction, hardwood timber and higher education sectors). The data was gathered from three sets of key stakeholders (government, institutions and industry) provided from a recent study funded by the Welsh Assembly Government's Small Grants Research Programme. These cases illustrate the use of the framework in helping to generate the initial information necessary for subsequent cluster development policy (within overall regional economic development) by government to occur. The framework provides tools for reviewing and monitoring individual sectors. Information captured within the framework can also help in ameliorating problems in sectors likely to decline further. The need for further development research is also identified. Specifically at the level of the firm and network, there is a need to generate a more detailed framework of analysis of factors that contribute to successful processes of network management, learning and innovation, from which more detailed policy could be enacted in future.
Pickernell, DG, Rowe, PA & Christie, MJ 2007, 'Developing a framework for network and cluster identification for use in economic development policy-making', Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, vol. 19, no. 4, pp. 339-358.
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