In recent years the term cluster has been widely used among researchers, practitioners and politicians. Clusters are found in various countries, e.g., watch clusters in Switzerland, automotive clusters in Germany as well as wine clusters in Australia. The current debate focusing on the benefits of globalisation contrasted with the importance of localisation through regions and business clusters is reflected in the media coverage of the topic. Many cluster activities are financially supported by regional or national governments as well as by larger actors such as the EU. The process of influence and interaction between the cluster and the political economy environment is topdown as well as bottom-up. In this paper a new point of view is taken where the identified gaps in the current cluster literature have been taken as a starting point to develop a framework where clusters are seen as a value adding web. Within this web the single firm is the core contributor and the core unit of analysis. In the following part of the paper this framework is highlighted in more detail. How it can be used to analyse a cluster is shown in section three of the paper where the Australian Hunter Valley Wine Cluster is explored from the perspective of a single actor embedded in this cluster. The paper concludes that the developed and employed framework of clusters as value adding webs provides a new approach to understanding industry clusters and the role of individual firms embedded into a certain cluster as well as offering practical implications for public policy actors. Avenues for future research are also identified.
Current Issues in International Human Resource Management and Strategy Research p. 157-177
Schriftenreihe Internationale Personal- und Strategieforschung 1