Adding Social Capital Considerations to the Value Adding Web Concept of Clusters

Susanne Gretzinger, Susanne Royer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


‘Cluster’ became a term highlighting network constellations where “a geographically proximate group of interconnected companies, suppliers, service providers and associated institutions in a particular field, linked by externalities of various types” (Porter, 2003: 562) is identified. A resource-oriented perspective has been used to come to a better understanding of value creation in clusters in different studies (Tallman et al., 2004; Hervás-Oliver/Albors-Garrigós, 2007; Fensterseifer, 2009; Steffen, 2012; Fensterseifer/Rastoin, 2013; Gretzinger/Royer, 2014; Neale, 2017; Rohde, 2018; Rohde et al., forthcoming). Building on this research, we here aim to contribute to a more in-depth understanding of value creation of single firms embedded in cluster contexts by taking a resource-oriented perspective complemented with thoughts from social capital theory.
We define clusters in accordance with Brown et al. (2007, 2008, 2010) as “overlapping value adding webs” (VAWs) of single firms so that the identification of relevant actors, resources and the embeddedness in specific interactions within the specific network is enabled. This is in line with Håkansson and Snehota (1995: 132 et seq., 192 et seq.) who coined the terms “resource ties” and “actor bonds” by describing the emergence of specific relations among co-creating actors and of (complementary) resources related to specific networks and/or dyadic constellations. Building on that understanding, we are interested in the development of interaction among actors and therewith in how resources get adapted and resource ties emerge and may result in relational rents. In this context the social capital perspective is potentially of value. The over-arching question of this research therefore is: How can the VAW concept be extended towards a social capital perspective?
Coming up with answers to this question, we want to further develop the VAW concept by focussing social capital as a vital input but also output variable. We clarify underlying (behavioural) assumptions of our reasoning to build the extension on a solid fundament. Investigating social capital in VAWs we take into account that a specific setting of social capital can have positive but at the same time negative impact on actors as already highlighted by Hanifan (1916, 1920). We thus follow the authors who explicitly acknowledge that social capital is not per se positive in its effects on value creation and economic performance (Nahapiet/Ghoshal, 1998; Gargiuloa/ Benassi, 1999; Hazleton/Kennan, 2000).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationZwischen Provinzen und Metropolen : Stationen einer Sozioökonomischen Reise. Festschrift für Wenzel Matiaske
EditorsSimon Fietze, Doris Holtmann, Florian Schramm
Place of PublicationAugsburg, München
PublisherRainer Hampp Verlag
Publication date4. Jul 2018
ISBN (Print)9783957102133
ISBN (Electronic)9783957103130
Publication statusPublished - 4. Jul 2018
EventÜberreichung, Festschrift zum 60. Geburtstag von Wenzel Matiaske -
Duration: 2. Jul 20182. Jul 2018


OtherÜberreichung, Festschrift zum 60. Geburtstag von Wenzel Matiaske


  • Social Capital
  • Value Adding Web

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